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Language Innate or Learned Language are we born with it or do we learn it Theres a lot to debate on this subject There are several points of view from psychologists medical doctors linguists and parents John B Watson believed that the environment was responsible for shaping childrens development His views were consistent with those of behaviorism an approach to psychology that had a great impact on research about children Although behaviorists emphasize environment they almost always deny the influence of biological variables on development Their basic assumptions are that the mind of a newborn child is a blank slate and that all behaviors are determined by environmental events and differences among children are the result of those environmental variables Behaviorists encouraged experimental studies and were responsible for moving child psychology into the mainstream of psychology Although they contributed much to the study of children their concepts eventually were viewed as being overly narrow Jean Piaget had been writing about childrens cognitive development since the 1920s Piaget called himself a genetic epistemologist that is a person who studies the origins of human knowledge and his theories led to more advanced work in child psychology This work involves both experimental and observational methods and in accounting for behavior integrates biological and environmental variables Piaget believes that language must be innate because deaf children eventually learn language and how to use it in social situations The ability to communicate and to understand language is a major achievement of human beings An amazing feature of language development is the speed with which it is acquired The first word is spoken at about 12 months by two years of age most children have vocabularies of about 270 words and this increases to 2600 words at the age of six It is almost impossible to determine the number of sentence constructions that can be generated within a single language Children however use syntactically correct sentences by the age
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