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Language acquisition is the process of learning a native or a second language Although how children learn to speak is not perfectly understood most explanations involve both the observation that children copy what they hear and the inference that human beings have a natural aptitude for understanding grammar Children usually learn the sounds and vocabulary of their native language through imitation and grammar is seldom taught to them that they rapidly acquire the ability to speak grammatically This supports the theory of Noam Chomsky 1959 that children are able to learn the grammar of a particular language because all intelligible languages are founded on a deep structure of universal grammatical rules that corresponds to an innate capacity of the human brain Adults learning a second language pass through some of the same stages as do children learning their native language In the first part of this paper I will describe the process of language acquisition The second part will review how infants respond to speech Language Acquisition Language is multifaceted It contains both verbal and non-verbal aspects that children seem to acquire quickly Before birth virtually all the neurons nerve cells are formed and they migrate into their proper locations in the brain in the infant When a baby is born it can see and hear and smell and respond to touch but only dimly The brain stem a primitive region that controls vital functions like heartbeat and breathing has completed its wiring Elsewhere the connections between neurons are wispy and weak But over the first few months of life the brains higher centers explode with new synapses This helps an infant to be biologically prepared to face the stages of language acquisition According to the textbook Child Development A Thematic Approach 3rd Edition D Bukatko MW Daehler 1996 p 252 there are four main components to language acquisition These components are phonology semantics syntax and pragmatics Phonology is the study of
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