Language Learning at an Early Age
From birth, children are surrounded by others who talk to them or with them. This
communication plays a part in how the baby learns to speak his or her native language.
Some argue that "nature" is entirely responsible for how a baby learns a language, while
others argue that "nurture" is responsible for how a baby picks up his or her mother
tongue. Social interactionists argue that the way a baby learns a language is both
biological and social.
Everyone loves to coo at babies, and this "baby talk" is exposing the child to language,
whether we realize it or not. Interactionists believe that children are born with brains that
predispose them to the ability to pick up languages as well as with a desire to
communicate. Some Interactionists even argue that babies and children cue their parents
and other adults into giving them the linguistic exposure they need to learn a language.
The Interactionist Theory posits that children can only learn language from someone who
wants to communicate with them.