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Learning language is a crucial factor of development. Children begin to learn language from a very early stage in life and they interact, grow and develop. There are several theories that have been postulated to explain different mean of language acquisition.
Some indicate that people actively learn and construct the meaning of that language while others imply that people are passive in participation. Environment and biological aspects impact on language acquisition critically.
The biological aspects of language are quite complex to understand (Ellis, 2001, p. 65). The first biological aspect of language acquisition is natural brain development. According to Piaget, cognitive development is a process of brain development and it is active during childhood.
Piaget also demonstrated that children leant new language because of the level of development of their brain hence children are limited by the development stage (Piaget, 2001, p. 123).
The constructivist theory demonstrates that individuals develop mental images of the things they experience and try to construct phrases in new language (Daniels, 2001, p. 103). Assimilation occurs when an individual is able to incorporate new language into his/her mind.
The second biological aspect of language acquisition is age. It has been established that children are better in learning language than adults as implied earlier in the paper. This is a fact. Research has show that the ages of 3 to 12 are critical for learning language.
This is also the reason why adults have a problem in second language acquisition (Foley & Thompson, 2003, p. 72). The process of learning language comes naturally to children and when they hear a language, their mind is triggered as they try to interpret the meaning or understand.
Piaget described intellectual development in four stages and sensori-motor and preoperational stages are important for this paper. Sensori motor stages is the first stage and infants have very limited experience of environment and rely on sensory perception and motor function when stimulated (Piaget, 2001, p. 121).
This means that children learn despite their social background and they have to go through the Piaget stages. The stages are a way of defining child’s cognition capacity. The preoperational stage is a crucial stage but the child still cannot conserve information and do not perceive logically complex facts (Piaget, 2001, p. 121).
However language is hallmark for this stage which is from ages 2 to 6 years. Even though children cannot comprehend logic things, cannot understand viewpoint of others and cannot mentally manage information, they are able to use symbols.
Language acquisition basically depends on the environment in which a person is brought up. The first concept of language acquisition is conditioning. This means that children learn new language by connecting sound with physical things like occasions and objects (Ellis, 2001, p. 65).
This is part of the Social development Theory which was developed by Lev Vygotsky. It finds its basis on the rationale that social interaction builds cognitive development where attainment of cognition is a result of socialization and social characteristics (Daniels, 2001, p. 103).
The second issue about environment influence on language acquisition is construction – this is an exploratory way of learning (Foley & Thompson, 2003, p. 72). Individuals have the ability to reason and comprehend language. This way, the new language stimulates ideas, processes and concepts and the individual independently integrates them to draw logic conclusion.
According to Piaget’s theory language acquisition comes after cognition.
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As far as Piaget’s thoughts and observations are concerned, the human brain goes through most critical changes over years of growth especially between two and twelve language acquisitions is at its best (Piaget, 2001, p. 123). Age is an important factor in learning language because it’s been found that children learn language more easily than adults do.
A child’s brain is likened to a sponge and this is because of the fact that they have innate ability to grasp concepts faster and amusingly, language is one of these concepts (Piaget, 2001, p. 123). Adults on the other hand are regarded to be totally soaked with issues that they cannot easily have space for new knowledge.
Language is one of the most crucial components of culture since much of cultural aspects and norms are communicated orally. This means that language is an integral part of culture and that therefore the interaction between the two aspects is a complex matter (Ellis, 2001, p. 65).
Culture influences language learning because there are some subtle nuances and implied ways of communication that one cannot comprehend when he/she does not understand the language.
However, the influence of culture is not a serious one as often implied though w more advanced culture could positively influence learning of language but this benefit is negligible (Foley & Thompson, 2003, p. 72).
Leaning a new language among children has been assessed and found to follow relatively similar pattern across different cultural backgrounds.
Daniels, H. (2001). “Vygotsky and Pedagogy,” Routledge/Falmer, New York, NY
Ellis, R. (2001). The Study of Second Language Acquisition, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Foley, J. & Thompson, L. (2003). Language Learning. Arnold, London
Piaget, J. (2001).The Language and Thought of the Child, Routlegde Taylor & Francis, London