Do We Learn Language Because Of Nature Or Nurture Essay

Or Nurture?

The second position concerning nature and nurture in language acquisition is defined by the premise that language is a consequence of our large brains with the ability to learn many things and the fact that we are extremely social beings. This is called ‘empiricism’. One the most prominent proponents of this approach is psychologist B.F. Skinner, who believes that humans are capable of language because we have the time, the opportunity and the brain capacity that is required to learn it.

Empiricists explain the universal presence of language in human cultures otherwise. They state that the beneficial quality of language is responsible for the ubiquitous distribution. People who came in contact with it, adopted it because of its beneficial effects and in this way, language spread across the earth.

Last, they claim that the ability of the human brain to understand and produce language can also be a consequence of neuronal connections that are made in early childhood. When a baby makes a certain sound that is followed by an action of a parent, there will be a neuronal connection in his brain that will be excited. After a lot of repetitions this will lead to a neural path which connects a sound with a meaning.

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How do both nature and nurture interact in the promotion of language development in young children?
The debate between many researchers is the argument of whether nature or nurture play a more important role in development. In this essay I will be looking into both aspects of nature and nurture focusing specifically on their influence towards language development in children. A main controversial question I will be looking into is the question of whether are we born already equipped with mechanisms which help us to learn language, or is language learned throughout a child’s environment by, for example, imitation and repetition? Studies done by some opposing researchers claim to show that nature and nurture promote language development…show more content…

This discovery enlightens the idea that to promote language development in a child is not fully down to environmental factors and instead the basic principles of grammar are contained within our brains when we are born.
As a way of responding to Chomsky's LAD learning system, Bruner (1964) theorised the language acquisition support system (LASS). Bruner states that through LASS, parents often use books and images to develop their child’s language abilities and their ability to get involved in conversation thus further developing their language skills. So unlike Chomsky’s LAD theory where language acquisition was determined by a mechanism in the brain, Bruner’s theory acknowledges the role of nurture where parents or guardians act as the ‘support system’ to promoting a child’s language development. Within the LASS theory there are four main components; gaining attention, query, label and feedback, which all require social interaction between adult and child. Contrasting to learning theorists approach, Bruner (1964,pg78) believed that simply listening to language is not a sufficient way to acquire language skills. Instead he thought that, ‘the child needs to be exposed to the mutual eye gazing and turn taking that are needed for conversation’. So language, according to Bruner, relies heavily on the role and exposure to social context. Evidence for this can be provided by looking into the

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