Language Development



Humanspossess different characteristics compared to other species. Otherthan the anatomical and psychological differences, people haveenhanced thinking capacity that makes them superior when compared toanimals. The cognitive ability of humans is instrumental in shapingthe thought process. Language is among the products that arise in thecourse learning. Both contemplation and language are intertwined aswell as essential to the growth cycle. Sometimes, it is hard torecognize whether they are dependent or interdependent. Understandinglanguage is crucial in comprehending who we are and our intellectualcapabilities. Nonetheless, there exist differences arising from thestudies that attempt to elucidate the origin of language and itsformation. Some studies argue that speech is a channel ofcommunication while others regard it as simple structures andcomputations. Scientific findings reveal the disparities between thefunctionalist and formalist view of linguistics. Early communicativeexperiences have significant role in enhancing the acquisition oflanguage in the course of human development.

Thetwo perspectives, formalist and functionalist, are not supposed tooppose one another as they explain different aspects of language. Instudying linguistics, one recognizes the inherent and vehementdebates trying to explain the two concepts. Where does syntax inlanguage come from? How language did come into existence? Syntax isknown to be a major component in language. In some debates, it isargued that acquisition of verbal communication in children isdifferent from its evolution. Children attempt to communicate bylooking at the social environment. Even without understanding ideas,they obtain lingo that helps in explaining their thoughts. There is agreat urge to communicate among kids. As explained in thefunctionalist view, speech is shaped by the communicative functions.Children learn from their social environment even though they remainunaware of the structures. It is notable that early communicationskills acquired by children have great influence in languagedevelopment at later stages of life (Pinker, 2013). In its primaryexplanation, language has two notable parts namely syntax and word.The syntax is the structural formation of language while the word isthe content that fits in the structure. There is widespreadconcurrence about the significance of the two parts in the linguistictheory. Nonetheless, either of the parts can attract different weightin importance depending on the view and context. The evolution oflanguage entails the study of syntax and the origin. Syntax, as seenin many other explanations, is the arrangement of words together tocreate a meaning. It has computational algorithms that elucidate itslink to semantics (Pinker, 2013).

Theformalist perspective as explained by researchers such as Chomskyexplains language on the basis of competence-performance. It seeks toexplain the deductive features of language such as algorithms andrules. Still, the perspective attempts to examine the patterns oflinguistic elements. The functional approach places great emphasis onthe communicative features as well as how ideas are systematized inlanguage. In essence, the aim is to stress the inductive componentsof language that includes rules and heuristics. Linguistic elementsare studied depending on their contribution towards enhancing thefunctionalities of language. The functionalist perspective questionsthe anatomy of language (Hoff,2013).Whereas formalists and functionalists have issues to learn from oneanother, it is clear that the two concepts cannot complement oneanother. During the early stages of language development, there isconsiderable omission of functional components such as verbalinflections. The issue cannot be said to be lack of grammaticalknowledge grammar and language are crucial in elucidating meaning andenhancing communication.

Froma functionalist perspective, acquisition of language follows thegeneral rules of language. As such, one does not require specialcognitive features to communicate. The formalist view considers thatlanguage is acquired biologically. In addition, findings from variousresearch studies reveal the conflicting issues that seek to explainthe formalist and functionalist perspectives. Scientific evidenceappears to support the functionalist view in understanding the linkbetween language and communication. Language development startswithout necessarily learning the structures and elements necessary tocommunication. It is notable that children acquire the languagelearnt from the social environment. Actually, it is not cognitiveabilities that enhance language development. Communication has asignificant role in the development of language. In their earlystages of development, children acquire language depending on theirsocial environment. The nature of their communication is influencedby experiences. It is notable that the early communicativeexperiences act as the drivers towards language development (Hoff,2013).

Inconclusion, there is great need to understand the difference betweentalking and communicating. Both formalist and functionalistperspectives offer important findings to help one understand theevolution and development of language. Nonetheless, the functionalistview carries more weight in trying to engage in linguistics. As seenfrom the explanations given by the formalists, structure has no linkto the communicative role. The position is questionable as it doesnot explain how one acquires the language. In opposition to theformalist perspective, I believe there is a great relationshipbetween early communication skills and language development in laterstages of life.


Hoff,E. (2013). Languagedevelopment.Boston: Cengage Learning.

Leech,G. N. (2016). Principlesof pragmatics.Thames: Routledge.

Pinker,S. (2013). Language,cognition, and human nature: Selected articles.Oxford [u.a.: Oxford Univ. Press.