Walden University Second Lang

Imagine a baby learning words for the first time from immediate family members and close relatives. Picture a group of adolescents preparing for an exam in a second language. Envision adults using language-learning software before travel to a foreign country. Consider the effects of biology and environment on language acquisition in these examples.

Compare the ease of learning one’s native language as a child to the acquisition of a second language as a teenager or an adult. Do some individuals pick up new languages more easily than others? Do some children acquire language skills more readily? What might answers to these questions indicate as to the contributions of biological and environmental factors to language acquisition?

For this Discussion, select one biological and one environmental factor that influence native and second language acquisition. Consider how each factor might influence both native and second language acquisition.

 

 

Post a description of the biological and environmental factors that you selected. Then explain how each might influence native and second language acquisition. Provide examples to support your response.

 

REQUIRED READINGS

Diehl, R. L., Lotto, A. J., & Holt, L. L. (2004). Speech perception. Annual Review Psychology, 55, 149–179.

Hernandez, A. E., & Li, P. (2007). Age of acquisition: Its neural and computational mechanisms. Psychological Bulletin, 133(4), 638–650.

Kuhl, P. K. (2010). Brain mechanisms in early language acquisition. Neuron, 67(5), 713–727.

Poeppel, D., & Hickok, G. (2004). Towards a new functional anatomy of language. Cognition, 92(1–2), 1–12.

Hagoort, P., & van Berkum, J. (2007). Beyond the sentence given. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 362(1481), 801–811.
Beyond the Sentence Given by Hagoort, P. & van Berkum, J. in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Copyright 2007 by The Royal Society. Reprinted by permission of The Royal Society via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Pinker, S. (2010). The cognitive niche: Coevolution of intelligence, sociality, and language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(2), 8993–8999.
The cognitive niche: Coevolution of intelligence, sociality, and language by Pinker, S. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(2). Copyright 2010 by National Academy of Sciences/Proceedings. Reprinted by permission of National Academy of Sciences/Proceedings via the Copyright Clearance Center.

REQUIRED MEDIA

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Week 6: Language [Interactive multimedia]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Transcript: Week 6: Language (PDF) 

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