Nature vs. Nurture in Language Essay

Nature vs. Nurture in Language Essay

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In attempt to understand individuals, psychologists debate whether nature or nurture accounts for human abilities and capacities. The term “nature” refers to the characteristics and abilities that derive from genetics, such as eye color. The term “nurture” indicates the abilities and capacities we acquire from society and the environment around us – the things we learn. Both nature and nurture influence how humans behave and function. Determining where the qualities and characteristics derive from will help us understand and assist the subject we desire to learn about.
In the discussion of nature verse nurture, one controversial issue is language. Arguing on the side of nature, children across the world seem to exhibit universal stages of linguistic development. Infants as young as seven months old are able to recognize simple linguistic rules from a string of sounds. When a child is first learning to speak, they typically combine words in ways that an adult would not. They can also speak and communicate clearly without adult correction. These observations suggest that we are born with the capacity to communicate verbally and through the use of kinesics, or gestures. However, nurture also plays a large role in the use of language. Linguistics differ amongst children from region to region based on the way the people around them speak. Thousands of languages such as: Spanish, English, Italian, and Creole are spoken around the world. Vernacular and accents also vary within each language and is acquired through a learning process, not genetics(Brown, 10/1/13). Another major environmental factor is correction from parents and adults. A child may be born with the ability to speak, but grammatical correctness and annunciation requi...


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...caused researchers to lose track of Genie’s progress, the data that was collected during her time at UCLA is strong evidence in the importance of nurture in human development and behavior.
It appears that neither nature nor nurture can be given full credit for an individual’s behavior and characteristics. An understanding cannot be found by looking exclusively at one factor. Both genetics and environmental factors hold huge responsibilities, working together to create a complex being. Our personalities and characteristics are susceptible to innate and environmental forces. By studying these factors, we are able to help future patients, like Genie, and understand whether nature or nurture, or a combination of the two, is at fault or needs correction. This understanding also helps us enhance the lives of people and children under our care or sphere of influence.


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