Language acquisition is a process in which humans acquire the ability to perceive and comprehend language and also to use words and sentences to communicate
Language acquisition is a process in which humans acquire the ability to perceive and comprehend language and also to use words and sentences to communicate. First language acquisition is a process where a person learns his or her native language. Second language acquisition refers to the learning of other languages besides the native language.
There were two hypothesis proposed related to language acquisition. They are the “Innateness” hypothesis and the “Critical” hypothesis. The “Innateness” hypothesis was proposed by Noam Chomsky who said that humans are pre-wired to acquire language while the “Critical” hypothesis stated that there is a critical age for language acquisition without special teaching and learning. We will be focusing on the second hypothesis as it can relate how Judy learnt English faster.
Judy was able to learn a second language better than her parents and grandparents because Judy was in her critical period. Critical period is the age between birth until one reaches puberty. Judy was only eight years old when she started learning English. The older a person is, the harder it is to learn a new language.
Critical period is also related to brain plasticity. Brain plasticity is the changes in neural pathways brought about by environmental or experiential stimuli. Brain plasticity decreases over time which causes Judy’s parents and grandparents to not be able to learn a second language better than Judy who was eight. Brain plasticity decreases with brain maturation because neural pruning occurs. Neural pruning is a process where extra neurons are eliminated for better efficiency of neuronal transmissions.
During childhood, a child has more number of synapses per neurons than an average adult. When a person learns something new such as a new language, a new pathway is triggered to transfer and process the information. However, as the brain matures neural pruning and myelination occurs. Myelination can cause damage to the brain’s flexibility in creating new neural pathways