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Development Of Human Language, Neurolinguistics And Psycholinguistics: Exmaining Studies On Feral And Isolated Children

1824 words - 7 pages

Most people take it for granted that children will develop cognition, language and communication skills when they reach a certain stage in their life. In fact, various studies have been conducted regarding these aspects of human development. A common topic for debate is the issue of nature versus nurture, wherein some groups support the idea that language and cognitive development is as natural as breathing while other groups contend that external factors influence these characteristics of human progress. Researchers are given the opportunity to dig deeper into this issue through cases involving feral, isolated and confined children.
A normal child develops in a variety of domains that are closely linked with each other. They influence and enhance each other so that the child’s growth and progress are balanced (Blank & Berg 5). Unfortunately, the circumstances faced by feral, isolated and confined children do not give them the same opportunities as normal children to have such a balanced development. Feral, isolated and confined children are those who have spent a substantial amount of their formative years away from normal human contact. Feral, wild, or wolf children are children who grew up in the protection of animals. Isolated children are those who grew up on their own in the wilderness, while confined children are those who were brought up without contact with any other people and under very deplorable situations. Whereas the circumstances of feral and isolated children are mostly unintentional, the cases of confined children are usually prompted by neglect or abuse by other people. The observations made on these children have helped in demonstrating the effects of lack of social interaction on normal growth and development, especially in the areas of language development, neurolinguistic development and psycholinguistic development.
Language development among humans normally occurs rapidly from the time the child is born to around the age of five. There are generally accepted language learning milestones that every child has to achieve even though the pace and age at which these are achieved may vary from child to child ("Language Development"). There are several theories regarding language acquisition and development. Chomsky theorized that people have an inborn ability to learn language through a special biological mechanism, a species-specific biological endowment, which he referred to as a Language Acquisition Device that is found in the brain. He likened this to a “universal grammar” that is recognized by all humans. His theories were also considered as Nativist in comparison to the Behaviorist theories which stipulate that language acquisition is achieved as a result of providing rewards for imitations (Rieber ; “Theories About How Young Children Acquire and Develop Language”). Piaget contends that cognition precedes language development and children simply use language to represent what they are thinking. Vygotsky argued that...

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