Humans and Language Learning Descriptive Essay by Nicky

A description of the human capacity to learn language.
# 145653 | 929 words | 4 sources | APA | 2010 | US
Published on Nov 21, 2010 in Anthropology (General) , Linguistics (General)

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This paper examines the human ability to develop and utilize language skills, citing two opposing views of how this is accomplished. One side of the debate contends that humans are hard-wired for language while others feel that that language is a learned trait just like most other aspects of human behavior and skill. These views are further developed in the paper, with research studies and a literature review supporting both sides of the argument. The paper also describes the branch of science devoted to the study of how language developed. The paper concludes by stating that although there is certainly an innate biological basis for language, it is far from the sole cause and progenitor of language.

From the Paper:

"There is even an entire branch of science devoted to the study of how language developed, much of it concerned with the historical period, which suggests what seems intuitively true at first glance: that language continues to be adapted and modified, not just in the words we have and use but in the effects and uses of language itself, even as human appear to have basically reached a genetic stasis (Wortham 2008). The field of linguistic anthropology views language as innate part of humanity, it is true, but one that changes as conditions and people change (Wortham 2008). Such transformations would simply not be possible if language were hard-wired into the brain; the language skills we have inherited from the previous generation, and they from theirs, and so on, are simply not adequate to handle the changing landscape of today's world."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Christiansen, M. & Chater, N. (2008) "Language as shaped by the brain." Behavorial and brain sciences, no. 31, pp. 489-558.
  • Corballis, M. (2009). "Mental time travel and the shaping of language." Experimental brain research, no. 192, pp. 553-60
  • Gervain, J., Macagno, F., Cogoi, S., Pena, M, & Mehler, J. (2008). "The neonate brain detects speech structure." Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, vol. 105, no. 37, pp. 14222-7
  • Wortham, S. (2008). "Linguistic anthropology of education." Annual review of anthropology, no. 37, pp. 37-51

Cite this Descriptive Essay:

APA Format

Humans and Language Learning (2010, November 21) Retrieved June 07, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Humans and Language Learning" 21 November 2010. Web. 07 June. 2023. <>