Man’s ability to learn language even without undergoing formal education is remarkable. Infants, through their instincts and reflexes, are able to communicate to their family by crying. After a short period of time, infants learned to babble and make cooing sounds. When infants have reached a certain age, they begin to talk in single syllables, and eventually just by observing and listening to the people around them, and by informal training from their parents and family, they learn to speak in phrases to simple sentences as they are growing up. By this time, they have learned their native language fully. Complex language training is continued in attendance to educational institutions, by learning the technicalities of language, such as etymology, vocabulary, grammar, syntax, ways to communicate, and also ways and techniques on how to learn language independently.
Perhaps the first and the most important factor in language development is the influence of the parents and the family. Learning begins at home, and this is the place where everyone receives their first education. I believe that parents who show interest in the language development of their children are more likely to raise children who are competent in language communication. Parents who are great communicators are also more likely to influence the development of their children’s communication skills. For example, parents who talk with their children and listen fixedly about their activities the entire day, interests, difficulties, are most likely to rear their children to be good communicators because they use the language often. On the other hand, parents who are usually busy, does not a lot time to communicate with their children, and show them that they are interested and are listening to them, will influence their children’s language development.
Other means of language acquisition and development influenced primarily by parents, aside from the typical intimate conversations with them, are the love for reading and interest or the innate drive or motivation to learn. Parents, early on, can influence their children learn to love reading books and motivated to learn. Based from observations on other people, individuals who have been exposed to reading and who are interested to learn have a wide vocabulary. They also communicate their thoughts well and they have lots of opinions that they can share to other people. Moreover, individuals who are highly interested in learning are the ones who speak more often in class, understand and process information faster, and respond articulately and conversely with other people.
Although brain development and genetics play a great part on the language competencies of children since it is the foreground of all human beings, the lack of cognitive language skills and development can still be improved by their culture and their environment. Therefore, with the influence of the parents as the most important, culture and environmental factors come next, biological factors becoming the least influential. A supportive culture and environment which facilitate learning acquisition and development nurture children who are skilled and learned in language communication.
Children gather ideas and opinion from their environment, through conscious or unconscious imitation. Imitation includes the language. Moreover, an environment which makes it possible to learn the language and develop acquisition skills contributes to language development. Culture is most significant in the acquisition of language patterns. Due to the differences in cultural background, people also acquire different language patterns. An example may be taken from Benjamin Lee Whorf. Whorf said that differences in views and opinions, such as sexist, racist, ethnocentric views, influence language because it follows a system of ideas that may be different from other culture. (SparkNotes, 2006)
The educational institution as the ground for formal education is present to reinforce what the children acquired through his childhood years prior to schooling, and to formalize learning by teaching the technical values of language and its application to the changing world. Moreover, the educational institution is the foundation for learning second, third, etc. languages.
SparkNotes. (2006). “Language and Cognition.” Retrieved August 5, 2008, from SparkNotes,
LLC. Website: http://www.sparknotes.com/psychology/psych101/languageandcognition/section2.rhtml