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Factors affecting language acquisition

What factors affect language acquisition? Which factor do you believe has the largest influence on language acquisition? Explain why.

Solution Preview

Let's take a closer look. Different theories give more weight to different factors. I also attached an article, which gives an excellent overview of the research in the areas of language acquisition.

The one important factor affecting initial language acquisition is neurological developments in the brain. Unless completely deprived of language input, a three-year-old toddler is "a grammatical genius"--master of most constructions, obeying adult rules of language. Pinker explains this miracle in that language is an instinct, an evolutionary adaptation that is partly "hard-wired" into the brain and partly learned. In other words, Pinker believes that humans have a common "universal grammar" (Pinker, 1994). Ray Jackendoff's Patterns In The Mind (1993) resembled Pinker (1994) who believes in the detailed structure of human language being part of our genetic endowment. However, Sampson (2007) disagrees that language is an instinct, and instead argues that "[t]here is no reason to doubt that languages are wholly learned cultural creations" (p. 1).

In fact, Pinker (1994) summarizes the first two years of neurological development relating to language use:

"Before birth, virtually all neurons (nerve cells) are formed, and they migrate to their proper locations in the brain. But head size, brain weight, and thickness ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the factors that affect language acquisition, as well as which factors may have the largest influence on language acquisition, and why. References are provided in APA format.

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