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Cognitive Psychology About Language Acquisition

Cognitive psychology is a branch of psychology that relates to processes through which the human mind absorbs information, processes it and comprehends it. The acquisition of language relates to the process whereby an individual accustoms oneself, with the linguistic and grammatical trends of a given language and uses these tools to communicate.

Cognitive psychology concerns itself with elements of empirical learning which allows an individual to decode and internalize information.

According to cognitive psychology theorists like Thorndike, people acquire language skills by imitation. This means that a child might want to imitate parents or older siblings. Through this, such a child would grow and become fluent in the language of his parents.

Another theory in cognitive psychology put forward by thinkers like Chomsky, stated that the human being has inherent capabilities that enabled him to verbalize things in order to express feelings. This is known as emergentism. The theory proposes that the human brain has the ability to process information and vent it out through language. This theory is supported by the fact that the children of Africans captured from different parts of Africa and sent to the Americas during the slave trade periods, came up with various forms of languages to blend the European languages, like the various forms of Creoles, the Jamaican Patois and the Haitian Pidgin. These languages came about as a result of the children of different Africans, attempting to communicate with different Africans in communities where European languages were the means of communication. Hence, it can be said that the human mind has the ability to come up with languages when there is no language.

A third school of thought known as the empiricism theorists state that people learn languages by watching the actions of people when they speak. This goes beyond the imitation theory which states that people imitate words and tornations. Rather, empiricists state that language is meant to express emotions and views

In conclusion, three main cognitive psychological theories can be used to explain how human acquire new language. The first, suggests children imitate their parents and people around them. Another theory put forward by the emergentism view suggests that people have the inherent ability to speak. Hence, they exercise this naturally as they grow. A third group of cognitive psychologists argue that humans learn languages by watching the action of the, members of the community and repeating the same actions.

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