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Critical Component For Language Acquisition Essay

1509 words - 7 pages

The notion that there is empirical evidence to prove that humans have a critical period to acquire a language is, indeed, an ample fulfillment. This remarkable phenomena in which language acquisition takes part in is known as the critical period hypothesis. From the earliest incoherent babble to the utterance of a child’s first word, scientists have been able to unravel the mystery of understanding language acquisition. The critical period hypothesis originally came from linguist and neurologist, Eric Heinz Lenneberg. Linguists believe that language, in itself, has a critical component for learning. There is substantial proof for a critical period in language which stems from studies on ...view middle of the document...

In spite of the onset that adults have over children in being able to carry out and produce coherent sentences in a second language, remains temporary. Consequently, the age differences between all of the 6-15-year-old subjects and adults display a discrepancy in the long term effects of acquiring that of a second language (Hoefnagel 1122). Children benefit from the critical period because the earlier a child is exposed to a second language, the child can preeminently assimilate a second language. Thus, children have a bilingual advantage to aptly set forth cognitive tasks that allow them discern both languages.
Essentially, the foundations for the unique ability that separates man to a rather more complex life form could be derived from the biological processes in which language, in itself, must occur. According to Newport and Gleitman, children can acquire language by means of their adaptive environment and through constant reinforcement at an earlier age, the more effective it is for them to acquire knowledge. The widespread of language acquisition is “no quick or back corner of human mentality but rather one of the central cognitive properties whose possession” separates man from the “animal kingdom” (Gleitman 21-22). It has been reported in Gleitman’s findings that deaf parents that raise a deaf child are a able to successfully communicate by means through sign language (Singleton 19). Furthermore, deaf children are able to acquire sign language the way that most children would acquire a language. Conversely, roughly about 90% children with hearing impairment are born to hearing parents (Singleton 42). Unfortunately, may of these deaf children have difficulty in communicating with their parents because the parents, in this case, have no adeptness of sign language.
Research among deaf children and language acquisition can map certain findings in the cognitive processes. Even though deaf children may not develop sign language at an early age due to the hearing parent’s incognizant manner toward sign language, it has been theorized that instead, these children may “elaborate systems of gesture” (Whitney 344). Forms of gesticulation, “system of gestures,” and body language are ways in which deaf children and parents communicate back and forth (344). These variety of signals progress into greater meaning, creating a communicative skill. In other words, deaf children that have no other choice but to reach out to the parent or guardian; their skill is to transform simple deeds or signals into a comprehensible linguistic system. Among deaf individuals, the hindering of language acquisition and the absence of linguistic input at an early stage, ultimately reflects on the individual’s inability to grasp language as they grow older. However, children who weren’t taught sign language possess another gateway of communication by providing signals to the parent as a means of communicating. From a nativist perspective, deaf children are evident for the...

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