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ByJoseph   posted on01 Mar, 12 1008 Views 0 Comments Regular Feature Add to favorite

Language is a very important component in a humans life. It has deep rooted cultural implications too. Without knowing the language of people we cannot know them enough.

Children have a genetic propensity to learn language. They are inherently capable of learning the necessary phonemes, morphemes and syntax as they mature.

Children are born as learning machines. The effort they take to learn is mind-blowing. In fact, they slog and struggle continuously. Learning to speak and learning to move dominate their priority list and every possible moment is spent on the acquisition of techniques to speak and move. Though experts can map the motor ability of children the language learning ability has not been fathomed enough. One thing is clear: children learn to speak and to move just by modelling those who are already adept at them. Even learning grammar by children is done without spending much time on systematically putting them together.

Though children have the propensity to learn languages, which animals do not seem to have, it is a relentless and continuous activity.

Studies show that there is rapid learning of language in the early years of life. By age one, typically, children use about three words consisting of single morphemes (such aseat, mom, and more). By the time children are six years old, they use about 2,500 morphemes. Simple sentence construction (such as more milk) usually begins by about age two. However, in the early stages, children may start by creating a vocabulary and grammar largely of their own construction. They are trying to systematize and regularize their own simple speech. Parents often encourage this baby talk by imitating it. This provides positive reinforcement to the child to continue learning. However, some parents continue to do this long after it ceases to be useful because they think that it sounds cute. When children begin to learn standard grammar, they tend to over regularize it. That is, they learn a general rule and use it in all situations. For instance, the past tense of 97% of English verbs is indicated by adding the suffix "ed", as in looked. Young children often apply it to irregular verbs also. Go becomes goed, see becomes seed, drink becomes drinked. Unfortunately for children in English speaking societies, their language has about 165 irregular verbs that must be memorized. Compounding the problem is the fact that the 10 most frequently used verbs in English are irregular (be, have, do, go, say, can, will, see take, and get). The irregular verbs are very old words in English. Changes in their conjugation have been resisted because they are constantly used in common speech and most native speakers are comfortable using them.

It is obvious that learning a second or third language is easier in early childhood than later. When the child is in the process of picking up sounds and mastering it, the child can easily add any number of sounds belonging to any foreign language.At any age, learning by constant contact with native speakers in their own society is the quickest and best way. It is superior to taking foreign language classes because you are immersed in the culture and learn it simultaneously.

Often learning a second language is affected by the patterns of the first language. This is referred to as linguistic interference. There can be some blending of phonemes too.Grammar can also be affected by combining grammatical rules of both when speaking either of them.

All said and done, childhood is the right time to pick up any number of languages.

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