The Wild Childhood: Learning The Native Language

Decent Essays

Learning The Native Language

Most of the child language acquisition theories all have the same general idea, that language is acquired through repetition and imitation.

The behaviourist approach states ‘that children learn to speak by imitating the language structures they hear’. Covering both aspects of the statement at the beginning which is ‘hearing English and trying to speak it yourself are the only tools’.

The interactive approach states ‘recent studies have shown the importance of interaction’ which again is the tools of listening and speaking in order to acquire the language.

All of these approaches support the statement at hand. However some approaches disagree with it all …show more content…

He claims that if no language is learned before then, it can never be learned in a normal and fully functional sense. This is known as the "Critical Period Hypothesis".

An interesting example of this is the case of Genie, otherwise known as "The Wild Child". A thirteen-year-old victim of lifelong child abuse, Genie was discovered in her home on November 4th, 1970, strapped to a potty chair and wearing diapers. She appeared to be entirely without language. Her father had judged her retarded at birth and had chosen to isolate her, and so she had remained up until her discovery. It was an ideal opportunity to test the theory that a nurturing environment could somehow make up for a total lack of language past the age of 12. Sadly, she was unable to acquire language completely. Due to this and other complications, she eventually ended up in an adult foster care home.

Once the child has began its basics of language acquisition it then requires a sufficient and constant input from other more advanced language users (Adults) in order to grasp and work out the regularities of that language.

There are also Pre—language stages. These pre-linguistic sounds which are made in the early stages in the Childs language acquisition are simply called ‘cooing’ and ‘babbling’. By roughly 4 to 6 months of age babies start to make many more

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