Nature-Nurture and Language Development

Nature-Nurture and Language Development

The development of language in an individual is considered as an antecedent from the cognitive ability that is found to be enacted from the genetic structure which helps in the retention and effective utilization of language in the early stages of life. However, the external stimuli with respect to culture and environment also play an effective role in the language development. Moreover, the application of language development program in the computers and machines has provided the evidence for the co-existence about the phenomena of nature and nurture for the learning capability.

Role of nature in the process of language development

Role of nurture in the process of language development

Computer Generated Speech and nature-nurture debate in human language development


Role of nature in the process of language development

The progressive process of language development provides individuals with a way to communicate and express their thoughts either verbally or nonverbally, however, the language development is not considered to be simple. The acquisition of a language from an individual depends on the various spans of life which start from the infants age who are unable to understand the language and within a year; they start to understand some words. It has been observed that on average a two-year-old can possess the knowledge of about two hundred words which further increases up to the average of twenty thousand words per individual in the adulthood (Hoff, 2013).

It has been argued that that the process of language development is controlled by the internal stimuli because the children who are in the learning process of language do not learn only everything they hear but also learn the selective parts of language i.e. small words and then put them on use to express themselves. According to Sigelman and Rider (2014); it has been incurred by the experts that every individual possesses the universal grammar, which is considered as a built-in mechanism in our brain. During the span of language acquisition, the development of language in the brain takes place systematically. The children for instance, start learning the words even before they reach the age of one and after that they learn the exact use of phrase and combination of sentences in order to express themselves and start a conversation.

The evolutionary nature of life indicates that a man has adapted to great extent in order to maintain his survival and the notion has been developed in this respect that one’s learning has been passed through the genes. The gradual learning of the earliest men kept transferring and only the useful knowledge in the genes lasted while deteriorating the useless information. However, the process of mutation with respect to slight changes in the DNA kept occurring and made the men special and able to speech as compared to other evolutionary species i.e. apes. The gene which represents the language is known as FOXP2 which is responsible for the growth and development of brain structure. Individuals who are found to be mutated in this type of gene encounter a lack of speech mechanism and do not possess the understanding of complicated words or sentence structure (Ardit&Ginzburg, 2013). A similar gene is also found in animals with slight structural changes which represents the song birds. Therefore, the development of language is a natural phenomenon which is learnt with the help of genetic structures that is possessed by an individual in order to retain what has been passed on to him for generations and learn with the sequential dimensions of language.

The development and understanding of language with respect to genetic tone indicates the notion that an individual may learn a second language but the genetic knowledge which prevail the native language effect the accent and subtle-effect of that language. Therefore, language is not considered as an ever-changing phenomena. It is rather found to be impacted with the genetic structures that one possess (Hoff, 2013). The study being conducted in this respect provided the evidence that the German kids were able to talk in Thai language when they learnt this language as a native but to some extent their accent was not found to be native due to the fact that their genetic structure was not mutated enough to adapt this way. Prior studies have also provided the evidence that an individual in his early span of life tends to learn the language other than the native language which are in accordance with its tone and provides resemblance; otherwise the difference with respect to the accent and complete adaption of the language will persist.

It has also been incurred that the language development phase initiates at the initial span of life and it is considered as an inborn phenomenon of maturation. The inborn capability of an individual enables the acquisition of interpretation of newly heard words and the language structures are made and summoned up in ways so that the individual is able to understand and follow the grammatical rules of language. The individuals possess the ability to develop the learned words with respect to their requirement and use them when needed. The tendency is found to be high in children in the initial age with respect to the understanding and effective utilization of sentence structures (Sigelman & Rider, 2014).

Role of nurture in the process of language development

Linguistics also infer that the language development is related to the behavioral stimuli and is strongly influenced by the environment. The basic need of the human prevails in the interaction that he makes in his surroundings and in order to survive; it is considered as the basic tendency of an individual to learn the ways in order to survive in the existing environment and this need is fulfilled with one’s ability to communicate. According to Ardit&Ginzburg (2013), children for instance, are reinforced by their parents to learn the native language and are provided with rewards and affection which makes them to learn that particular language. Moreover, the tendency of trial and error also takes place when an individual starts learning and the individual learns the language in steps with the continuous support of his parents and teachers and then learns by making errors and retaining what has been learnt.

The extent to which the particular language is encountered to the individual in the initial stage of life is related to the adaptability of new language acquisition. The environmental effect of language provides the continuum of specific language in which the children continuously hear and retain the sound of words and applies them accordingly. Moreover, the environmental effect is carried by the parents who provide the children with the utmost motivation to talk and make them resemble the voice of words with the physical objectives i.e. visual learning. Individuals also learn specific words that are most often used in the environment (Sigelman & Rider, 2014).

Language development is the process that cannot be placed in isolation and hence the interaction between an individual who does not know the language to the one who adapts a language results in the language development of that individual. According to Hoff (2013), the social interaction made with other people initializes the process of an individual’s need to express himself. It is also incurred that the language development as a part of natural process comprises on the frequent repetition of new words, gestures to annotate those words and visual learning with respect to the words; thus, the effective language development takes place. The process is also supported by the continuous experiences that an individual encounters during the learning phase. Moreover, the caregiver’s tendency to keep repeating what is in the surroundings provide the learner with the continuous exposure of words and grammatical structures which are observed and retained by the cognitive process and results in the effective language acquisition.

According to Gass (2013), human language has been evolved with the period of time and there also exists niche with respect to different cultures and regions which has paved way for the number of natives and linguistics to formulize new language and hence, every language is being learnt by the children of that specific niche. The evolution of human life has not only transferred the genetic mutations but also the knowledge of language development in a person and has made the initial adoption and retention of language possible. Moreover, the environmental and interactive phenomena for the development of language are necessary because they both effect on the language acquisition of an individual in their own systematic way. The child is initiated to learn the language as a part of his cognitive ability, caregiver’s speech and the genetic understanding of language and thus nature-nurture effect the learning capability of an individual in a positive and effective manner.

Computer Generated Speech and nature-nurture debate in human language development

The robotic age in the human civilization has been arrived and it is not as mesmerizing to see the speech generated by computers as it was in the last few decades. The modeling of these computers is based on the mathematical phenomenon in which the programming of adequate words and the combination of words is made to formulate sentences in order to initialize the speech from the computer. Moreover, the concept of artificial intelligence is also exclusive in nature because the robotic structures are programmed with the software programs and are made with the artificial brain which is able to observe, analyze and interpret the input from surroundings automatically and is able to act or provide speech accordingly (Harley, 2013).

Oudeyer (2013) infers that the computer or robots are also backed by the debate of nature and nurture in which these computers are provided with the knowledge about the basics of knowledge with respect to the understanding of words and effective formulization of sentences. It also includes the external stimuli with which the system has to respond this phenomenon is considered as the nurture part of the language development. Moreover, the phenomenon related to nature with respect to the language development is found to be considered as the hardware or the central-processing system of the computer which is in the built-in form and provides the antecedents for the development and initialization for the speech development process.

The study conducted by Gruber (2013) indicates that the computer generated speech consists of the dualism made from the merger of nature and nurture perspectives of language development and the intelligence mechanisms of these speech systems consist of the systematic programming and knowledge about the language in which the speech will be made and hence, the phenomena of nature and nurture in the development of language in the artificial systems is considered to be interrelated in order to achieve better results.

In the advanced processing systems, the cognitive ability of an individual is considered as a computer where the external stimuli encounters with the artificial system and then the language obtained from the external stimuli is interpreted so that the binary language of machine can get acquaintance with it and can response accordingly. In this way, the nature and nurture debate is considered to collectively impact on the language development in the computer programs and the notion about the co-existence of both phenomena is evidently present (Harley, 2013).

It can be inferred from the prior studies that the development of language took place from the need of social interactions between the human beings and the requirement to survive the evolution was ever increasing with the continuous genetic mutations. Therefore, the language and the knowledge about the learnt ways of interactions became enacted in the genes and tend to be passed on throughout the generation. Hence, this particular notion indicates the individual’s ability to learn native language which is considered to be structured in the respective genes. During the learning process, the retention and systematic utilization of the language takes place. However, the same extent of language development takes place with the effects of the surroundings in which an individual prevails and during such circumstances; the individual tries to adapt in accordance with the surroundings and imitates the observed traits of words in order to become social. It is necessary to learn the common language so that the thoughts of an individual can be expressed in an appropriate manner (Hoff, 2013).

The language development in humans is also considered to be a part of continuous reinforcement that one receives from his surroundings and caregivers which is ultimately related with the rewards that are provided to an individual as a response towards the attempts made by the individual to learn and retain the language. Moreover, the continuous trial and error made by the individual in an attempt to become familiar with the language provides him with the adequate experience to avoid the same mistakes in the future and hence, increases his ability towards the better understanding of language by means of words and sentence structure (Ardit&Ginzburg, 2013).

Harley (2013) infers that the implication of mathematical modeling, software development and memory building has resulted in the development of robots and machines comprising of artificial intelligence. This has caused the possibility of language development in the machines in which the built-in knowledge about the language is being programmed and the external stimulus by means of supportive response or hardware is provided which initializes the process of speech in the computer generated systems. However, the effective initialization of nature and nurture in the perspective of artificial intelligence exists so that the machines can make speech and can utilize the built-in words and comprehend the sentence structure. This has indicated that both theories with respect to the language development can co-exist. Therefore, for the effective language development the cognitive ability to learn and comprehend language is essential by means of nature whereas the external stimuli that represent the environmental factors also buffer the process of language development.


Arditi, R., & Ginzburg, L.R. (2013).It’s wonderful gift.

Gass, S.M. (2013). Input interaction and the second language learner. Routledge.

Gruber, T.R. (2013). Nature, nurture, and knowledge acquisition. International journal of human-computer studies, 71(2), 191-194.

Harley, T.A. (2013). The psychology of language: From data to theory. Psychology Press.

Hoff, E. (2013). Language development. Cengage Learning.

Oudeyer, P.Y. (2013). Self-organization: complex dynamical systems in the evolution of speech. In The Language Phenomenon. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer.

Sigelman, C., & Rider, E. (2014).Life-span human development. Cengage Learning.

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