Second Language Acquisition. Yueh-chiu Helen Wang National Penghu University. The Definition of Language.
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A language is considered to be a system of communicating with other people using sounds, symbols and words in expressing a meaning, idea or thought. This language can be used in many forms, primarily through oral and written communications as well as using expressions through body language.
It is a term used in biology to refer to a limited phase in the development of an organism during which a particular activity or competency must be acquired if it is to be incorporated into the behavior of that organism.
The earlier language learning begins after the onset of the critical period the more efficient it will be, and that beyond a certain point language learning potential declines markedly even if it does not disappear entirely.
Lenneberg (1967) interprets critical period is to be seen as beginning around this age of two years: Language cannot begin to develop until a certain level of physical maturation and growth has been attained. Between the ages of two and three years language emerges by an interaction of maturation and self-programmed learning (p.158).
Genie was physically punished by the father if she made any sounds. According to the mother, the father and older brother never spoke to Genie although they barked at her like dogs. The mother was forbidden to
spend more than a few minutes with Genie during feeding. (Fromkin et al. 1974). Nevertheless, her phonological development approximated to that of normal children. As far as syntax is concerned, Genie learned to combine words in three-and four-word strings and to produce negative sentences.
Penfield & Roberts (1959) report that children are normally able to re-learn language when injury or disease damages speech areas in the dominant
Hemisphere, whereas speech recovery in adults is much more problematic, and that whereas in young children the speech mechanism is frequently transferred with complete success from the injured dominant hemisphere to the healthy minor hemisphere, such transfers do not seem to occur in the case of adults.
This hypothesis states that humans acquire language in only one way—by understanding messages, or by receiving ‘comprehensible input’… We move from i, our current level, to i+1, the next level along the natural order, by understanding input containing i+1 (Krashen, 1985, p. 2).