Teaching Language after the Critical Period Has Been Extinguished in A Silent Childhood

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Teaching Language after the Critical Period Has Been Extinguished in A Silent Childhood Childhood is such a precious, yet trenchant part of life. We all have memories of our days as children along with stories of lessons learned. Childhood is reflected by most as being a time of bliss and enlightenment. As I recall my childhood an avalanche of mixed feelings suffocates me. Would I be able to interpret these feelings if I had not learned language? More importantly, is it possible to teach language after the "critical period" has been extinguished? This is the prominent question that arose in my mind as I read "A Silent Childhood". The researchers' goal was to establish if "Genie" was capable of language after eleven years of isolation. Also, how much of language, if any is innate, and how much is learned? "Genie"? First of all, that name bothers me. Why in the world would someone name the child "Genie"? Granted, it was during the seventies when these events occurred, however, that is the best name they could conjure up? Webster's dictionary defines a genie as "a supernatural spirit that often takes human form". Were the researchers inferring that they did not view this poor child as human? Why not name her something ladylike and promising like "Hope" or "Heaven". With a child like "Genie" who was deprived of any sort of nurturing and positive reinforcement, I would think the name would be the first place to start in reconciling the child with a positive outlook upon herself and the world. A name like "Genie" gives me the impression that it is going to take magic to repair all the damage that has been done. The article later stated that "Genie" liked when she was described as pretty. Wouldn't it have been great if her name made her feel pretty? Since a name is something one hears hundreds time a day, the repetition of a beautiful name would redirect the negative thoughts that were pounded in her head for so many years. Speaking of years, "Genie" was thirteen when her mother stumbled into the social welfare office. Scientists don't agree how language is acquired, but they do agree that the first years of life a critical for language. Some scientists even believe that language is almost impossible to learn after the age of seven, six years before "Genie" was brought in for help.

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