Language acquisition is partly learned and partly innate as infants interact with the people around them and their environment. For some children, picking up a language is the easiest thing in the world, but for others it is the hardest. Many factors are responsible for this such as genetic factors and factors relating to our family background, experiences and exposure. Tiny tots pick up the language without any formal training just by listening and practicing. They often surprise us with their use of words and phrases and often leave us wondering as to who taught them. For a child learning a language comes naturally by instinct. It doesn’t need to be taught, but nurtured and groomed.
There is an ongoing debate about whether the human language gradually evolved from more primitive forms of communication like shouts, gestures or calls or whether the language feature is something unique to all humans. As Leaky (1994) states that “language is a defining point in human prehistory”, it is evident that language evolved.
But the question is, did language evolve early, during the evolution of humans? Chomsky advocates that, “evolved as an ability that arose as a consequence of the growing brain and therefore appeared late in our evolution”.
According to Tomassello 1999, the distinct feature of joint attention is what distinguishes us humans from apes. Therefore, the evolution of language is inextricably linked to joint attention. It is this feature that helps us to acquire knowledge and use it not only for communication but in the description of abstract things which are not within our reach. Primates are not capable of joint attention and therefore cannot learn a language well.
The manner in which you engage a child would determine the path of how language learning takes place in a child in his formative years from one to five. This is a very exciting period you can really enjoy listening to a child. Talking