Human Languages Is There a Continuum of Term Paper

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Sources: 5
  • Subject: Children
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #26595452

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Human Languages

Is there a continuum of intelligence from animal to human, or are humans unique in terms of memory, thinking, or language?

A child crosses several stages of development before a child ultimately becomes an adult and then completes his/her developmental phase. Meanwhile, the same goes for animals, which begins with the basic techniques for their survival such as standing on all feet, searching for food or recognizing their parents. Therefore, it would be hard to argue against the fact that only humans possess the quality of memory, language and thinking, as animal have shown plenty of signs of intelligence as well.

A child's development is much more complex and reliant on external factors; however, some aspects of the child's development are the same. At the age of 6 months a child begins to respond to his/her name and is able to differentiate between soft and hard tones while the child is also able to differentiate between the voices of different people around him/her. By the time the child is one-year-old, he/she obtains the ability to use a few words to communicate basic instructions or signals, while also being able to understand a few of the words of instructions given to the child. By the time the child turns eighteen months, it is able to use many words but perhaps not complete sentences and it is also able to follow the simple commands or instructions given to him/her. When the child turns two years old, it is able to name a number of objects around and may not be able to formulate complete sentences but should have the ability to use two-thirds of a proper sentence.

Animals may differ from a human being in terms of its functionality in terms of communicating, thinking or recognizing things or individuals but they certainly do possess the quality to do so. A dog, for example, after a certain period of development firms the cognitive abilities discerns its master's commands and by discerning signals, whether via sound or movement, that means a specific thing. The communication techniques of animals may not be the same as humans, which mostly involve verbal communication, but instead it is mostly done via actions, movements or gestures. A peacock, for example, may display its features in desire to mate with another while eagles circle the earth when they are about to scavenge on a dead animal.

Due to the different life spans of animals from humans, the development of animals might be accelerated, or limited, and might undergo a different set of stages than a human child does. It is also natural to assume that animals might have different levels of abilities amongst themselves as well, just like there are smarter humans, there are bound to be relatively smarter animals. For example, there are some dogs that are trained for particular duties earlier while there are other dogs that take longer to grasp that same knowledge. That could be down to genetics as well as nutritional input.

Meanwhile, language can also greatly affect a child's learning either positively or negatively. The child's learning is dependent on the quality of information and the presentation and delivery of information since it can discern how much a child understands a particular command and how easily it is discernible for the child. If a child understands the words being communicated to him/her and the child has a good grasp and understanding of the language, then the knowledge and information that is being transferred to the child should be easily learnt, understood and implemented. The child would be helpless if he/she does not understand the true concept of what is expected of him/her as it already very barely possesses the ability to ask for queries or questions.

Meanwhile, it is interesting to observe how much affect a child might have on his/her learning if it understands more than one language. Initially, it might be easier on the teacher's part as the teacher can use a larger repertoire of words and vocabulary to convey their messages and pick and choose the words that they might feel may be most easily be understood by the child. As long as the teaching aspect is made easier for the child, the child should have a good experience in learning the concepts that is expected to be learnt.

Meanwhile, there are some children who migrate to a newer location and to a place where the child's mother tongue is not spoken. In that case, the child's learning experience should move normally as long as it is with his/her family; but once the child is exposed to an external crowd or one that does not speak the child's native tongue, the child might be limited to his/her learning as it may not be able to discern the languages of those around him/her and this should slow down the growth rate of the child. This could also affect the child psychologically as it may feel isolated, confused or quite uncomfortable with the surroundings and the crowd that is surrounding the child.

Meanwhile, one must also look and observe the development of children who are bilingual and who do not face a considerable amount of challenges in understanding the commands and teachings of their teachers. In that case, more often than not, a child's development should move smoothly and should not face any external challenges; the only possible challenges that the child can expect is either genetic, or some other psychological factor that may be hampering a child's development stage. However, according to a study by Ellen Bialystok (2004), children who are bilingual have a better development than children who are not. Bilingualism increases the growth of the development of a general cognitive function which is primarily concerned with attention and inhibition. Moreover, the combining effects of bilingualism are also found in the particular affairs and processes in which this function is needed the most.

There are many children around the world that enter into the world with being exposed to a number of different languages, while they are expected to communicate using all those different systems of communication and then get education at school where the system of communication is different. Therefore, it is only natural that teachers, parents and politicians feel concerned about this activity and they raise questions and concerns regarding it while in some cultures this activity has become so common and so widespread that people do not seem to see it as an irregularity or too big a concern that they initiate any significant challenge to the norm. However, the child's cognitive development and learning rely heavily on the way in which the child is educated and the language it is communicated in.

Most of the recently written literature focuses on the impact of bilingualism with regards to the development of a child's linguistic and Meta linguistic ideas. It is possible that by learning two languages in the early years of a child could change the direction of these developments, although recording those abilities has led to the discovery of some unexpected complexity.

Bilingualism is usually, but not always, found to encourage an even faster paced development of Meta linguistic concepts. Meanwhile, oral language ability, especially with regards to early vocabulary development, is often delayed for children who speak more than one language. Reading and the attainment of literacy is not as well studied, but the prevailing proof gives little motive to think that bilingualism itself considerable impacts on the way or the ease with which young individuals learn to read.

Moreover, according to a study 'Lexical-Semantic Organization in Bilingual Children: Evidence from a repeated word association task' by Li Sheng (2012), among the group of children who are bilingual, word relationship performance was comparable and linked between 1st and 2nd languages. Children who spoke both…

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