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Thursday, January 12, 2006

How is language naturally acquired?

A quote from Derek Bickerton, PhD

Languages are naturally acquired by people listening to language. The human brain is built to analyze it. You know, there are a lot of places in the world-not in America-but in supposedly "backwards" places like West Africa, New Guinea, where it is commonplace to find people who speak half a dozen languages. How do they do that? There are no language schools. So, they do it because it's part of their lives. They go down to the market, they find people talking in 4 or 5 languages and if they're going to do any trade-or buy anything-they have to know just enough of the other language to get by. So, this is how languages are learned, whether by adults or by children-by listening and interacting with real people in real-life situations.