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Your text provides a copious amount of information in support of the view that language is innate and inherent in our biology, suggesting that we don’t need to be exposed to language in order to learn language. Among other evidence, the text cites cases of deaf children not exposed to sign language, who nevertheless develop a gestural language of their own.  However, the text largely ignores the “critical period hypothesis” of language development proposed by the linguist Noam Chomsky. According to Chomsky, there is an ideal ‘window’ of time during the first few years of life to acquire language. If a child is not exposed to language during this time, then advanced language, especially the use of grammatical rules, will not be possible. 

Evidence for such a sensitive period is limited, but comes from studies of accents in second language learners and from studies of what are called Feral Children, children who are not exposed during the critical or sensitive period because they grew up in the wild or were confined or isolated.  The most famous of these cases is Genie who was isolated from birth until age thirteen. Even after years of treatment, she never mastered language.

What does Genie’s story tell you about the role of experience and environment and the critical period hypothesis? Which is more important for learning language: nature (i.e. biology), nurture (i.e. environment and experience), or both? Why? Please provide evidence favoring your view using outside sources.

reference: Reisberg, D. (2018). Cognition: Exploring the science of the mind (7th ed.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

 
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