How Do Humans Acquire Language?
Children diagnosed at birth as mentally retarded acquire language in the same way as those with normal intelligence. Not only can children learn any of the thousands of languages that exist in the world, they do so without being overtly taught. It is difficult, if not impossible, to account for this ability without assuming that the brain is genetically pre-wired ' for language. (2)
One renowned researcher of language acquisition, Pinker, endorses language as being an instinct. The term instinct conveys the idea that:
People know how to talk in more or less the sense that spiders know how to spin webs. Web-spinning was not invented by some unsung spider genius and does not depend on having had the right
Cited: Berry, Mildred. Language Disorders of Children: The Bases and Diagnoses. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1969. Fromkin, Victoria. "The State of Brain/Language Research." Language, Communication, and the Brain. 66 (1988): 189-214. Gazzaniga, Michael & Heatherton, Todd. Psychological Science: Mind, Brain, and Behavior. New York: Norton, 2003. Hamaguchi, Patricia. Childhood Speech, Language, and Listening Problems: What Every Parents Should Know. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1995. Levine, Linda. Great Beginnings for Early Language Learning. Tucson: Communication Skill Builders, 1988. Pinker, Steven. The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. New York: Morrow, 1994.