Language acquisition refers to one’s ability to grasp the basic components of a particular language. It further entails the ability of the respective individual to successfully employ the language in their daily activities. Age comprises a significant factor in language acquisition. This is a consequence of cognitive and psychological influences. As one grows older, they are more likely to experience impediments that curtail their grasp of languages. This assertion is closely linked to the belief that by puberty, an individual should project mastery of the first language. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
It is easier to learn a language in childhood. This is because, during childhood, children have enhanced neuromuscular mechanisms. These neuromuscular mechanisms start to fade after puberty. At this age, individuals start losing the ability to learn basic language aspects. Therefore, pronunciation becomes a challenge. Puberty marks the onset of adulthood. Muscular, hormonal, and neural changes take place at this stage (Flege & Yeni-Komshian, 1999). In old age, due to external influences and physical derailments, individuals start losing their grasp of language.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
The Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) prevails that language can on be learned effectively during childhood. Lenneberg came up with this theory in 1967, and it reinforces the ability of children’s neural component to accommodate new information. A child’s brain is subject to lateralization. Lateralization explains the ability of both the hemisphere of the brains to function efficiently (Flege & Yeni-Komshian, 1999). It explains the process where both hemispheres of the brain play complementary roles. As one grows older, one hemisphere of the brain loses its elasticity. The right hemisphere of the brain becomes dormant. After puberty, all brain functions are relegated to the left hemisphere. This leads to language stagnation.
Furthermore, children have a greater capacity to imitate other individuals (Brown, 2006). This gives them an advantage over adults in language comprehension. In young age, individual’s brains are committed to learning new things. The receptors in the brain are more active in children than in adults. This coupled with an innate curiosity greatly enhances children’s abilities to learn languages. Furthermore, children are more tolerant and flexible to new environments than adults. Adults prefer familiar environments. A sense of security is reinforced when they limit themselves to new environments.
A child’s countenance is one that encourages risk-taking. Essentially, children are not as afraid of making mistakes as adults. Children are not limited by the need to prove their intellect or prowess. They handle impediments in the communication process easily. If a child has not completely grasped the basic structure of a language, they complement their communication with non-verbal cues (Brown, 2006). They further engage onomatopoeic words, which ensure the flow of communication is maintained.
In early stages of life, the concept of ethnic and cultural differences is not reinforced. Children are not curtailed by the concept of foreign civilization. Essentially, as an infant, a child is not completely in the conception of their environment. It is only after puberty that they recognize the disparities in language. Furthermore, after puberty, the need for identity is reinforced (Flege & Yeni-Komshian, 1999). Individuals look to fit into a specific segment of the society. This may affect their attitudes towards other languages. One tends to feel that their language is superior to the other. This may lead to a disinclination towards the learning of another language.
In conclusion, individuals of younger ages have an enhanced capability to learn languages. This is because of biological, psychological, and sociological factors. Children can learn languages at a quicker pace than the adults can. The age factor is an essential element that needs to be considered during the learning process. In engaging children, language educators need to engage frameworks that promote agility. This enhances the rates of language integration in children. [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Brown, H. D. (2006). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. New York: Pearson Education ESL.
Flege, J. E., & Yeni-Komshian, G. H. (1999). Age Constraints on Second-Language Acquisition. Journal of Memory and Language, 41, 78-104.