Language Acquisition

Jun 22nd, 2015
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A child acquires any natural languages within a few years, without the aid of analytical thinking and without explicit “grammar” instruction as taught in school. Sakai (2005:815) thus, ascribes the origin of grammatical rules to an innate system in the human brain. Important aspects of language are not acquired from experience

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A child acquires any natural languages within a few years, without the aid of analytical thinking and without explicit "grammar" instruction as taught in school. Sakai (2005:815) thus, ascribes the origin of grammatical rules to an innate system in the human brain. Important aspects of language are not acquired from experience; they are already present in the mind (Cook & Newson 1996:102). This is consistent with Chomsky's theory of Universal Grammar (UG) which claims that humans are innately endowed with universal language-specific knowledge (Chomsky 1977:2, 63). The concept of UG was resorted to because it was believed that children could not learn their first language so quickly and effortlessly without the help of an innate language faculty to guide them (Mitchell & Myles 2004:55). All human beings share part of their knowledge of language; UG is their common possession regardless of which language they speak (Cook & Newson 1996:1-2).Linguists regard speaking, signing, and language comprehension as primary faculties of language, that is, innate or inherent and biologically determined, whereas they regard reading and writing as secondary abilities (Sakai 2005:815). The above description implies that L1 is acquired during the first years of life through such primary faculties while children are rapidly expanding their linguistic knowledge. In contrast, reading and writing are learned with much conscious effort and repetition, usually at school. This ability may be influenc

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