“Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them; one cannot share hopes and aspirations, grasp their history, appreciate their poetry, or savour their songs.” – Nelson Mandela
Language Development is the most significant aspect of entire human evolution process. In other words, “the gift of the gab” is the greatest gift bestowed upon mankind. Over the period of thousands of years, through consistent use of language man has evolved from uncivilized forest dwelling hunter-gatherer to tech-savvy, civilized crafty city dweller. It has been instrumental in moving the civilization forward. Everywhere, everyday and everyone uses language to communicate and connect. Interestingly enough, language has played vital role in bringing phenomenal socio-cultural changes as well as multitudinous technological advancements. Ability to communicate well through words and gestures has vastly widened our spectrum of knowledge and honed our intellectual faculties. Throughout the history, the diffusion of innovation and transmission of knowledge from generation to generation can be attributed to language development. To put things into perspective, let’s examine the entire process of language learning.
Human brain is structurally and functionally designed to learn languages. Research studies clearly show that humans learn language in stages. Beginning with understanding basic sounds and words to more complex vocabulary and grammar, we gradually acquire language over time. And these stages are universal irrespective of the language you are learning, be it your mother tongue, English or any other language for that matter. Research studies evidently exemplify that humans learn languages in phased and incremental manner. Language learning can be likened to flight of “an airplane” and confidence to proficiently use language is the “aviation turbine fuel” that provides perpetual impetus to the life-long learning process. The stages of Language Development can be listed as:
Pre-production (Preparation Stage) – This is known as the “silent period” of language learning and the stage is characterized by listening to new English words, and building passive vocabulary. In this stage learners have limited comprehension.
Early production (Take-off Stage) – This stage is characterized by understanding of simple grammar rules and development of passive and active vocabulary of few hundred words. Learners can speak simple phrases and frequently repeated words and syntax.
Speech Emergence (Accelerating Phase) – In this stage, learner develops vocabulary of few thousand words and comprehends a multiplicity of grammar rules. Learner can communicate using simple sentences but speech is not always grammatically correct.
Intermediate and advanced fluency (Effortless Cruising) – Language learners at intermediate fluency stage have active vocabulary of more than 6000 words and they use more complex sentence structures in speaking as well as writing. Research studies corroborate that it takes learners 4-10 years to gain native like fluency in second language. An average native English speaker has wide vocabulary of 25,000 words but Winston Churchill had a command over corpus of 60,000 words!!. Non-linguist factors like emotional state, motivation and personality traits do affect language development but eventually everybody reaches required level of proficiency.
Mechanism of Speech Production
Wernicke area is located in the left hemisphere of the brain and is responsible for the comprehension of speech. This area appears to be uniquely important for processing the speech sounds and communication cues. It is considered to be the receptive language centre, or language comprehension centre.
Broca Area is the region of the brain which is responsible for articulate speech production. In addition to serving a role in speech production, the Broca area is also involved in language comprehension and associated with hand gestures, facial neural control and bodily movements and regulates the functions of motor cortex which in turn helps in engaging articulators (lips, tongue and jaw muscles).
Pep Talk Approach to Language Learning
Have you ever wondered why learning English as a second language is difficult for adults even though you have successfully learned your mother tongue? The problem lies in the way English language is taught in institutes around the world, not in the language itself. “Pep Talk Approach” represents in microcosm the whole verbal cosmos. The teachings and techniques of all the great and wise like Aristotle, Plato, Cicero and other eminent scholars are embedded in the pedagogical instructions at Pep Talk India. We at Pep Talk India lay major emphasis on purposeful use of English language for more demanding proposition specifically “Public Speaking” rather than focusing on coercing learners to cram mundane grammar rules and dreary vocabulary word lists. The focus has always been on erudition and skill development rather than employing anachronistic learning strategies. Motivated learners at Pep Talk India get ample opportunities to listen to and interact with charismatic and eloquent trainers in intellectually stimulating environment. The anxiety-free academic milieu facilitates language acquisition in a sustainable manner. In this competitive contemporary climate, art of public speaking is constantly evolving with spoken English as its indispensable component and Pep Talk India is at the cutting edge of this revolution. This amalgamation of a plethora of traditional elements and a myriad of modern aspects represents the “new brand of excellence” in language learning. We reckon that language acquisition is not only cognitive but emotional and kinesthetic as well. This distinctive approach has brought to fruition a paradigmatic shift in development and mastery of Lingua Franca of the modern world.
Something to Ponder
Do you know that the multilingual people are far more immune to degenerative mental disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in later stages of life?
The gift of the gab (idiom) – the ability to speak expressively
Bestow (verb) – give something to someone, confer
Multitudinous (adj.) – in large number
Impetus (noun) – stimulus that encourages an activity
Multiplicity (noun) – large variety of things
Corroborate (verb) – provide evidence to support statement
Expedite (verb) – speed up something
In microcosm (idiom) – small scale representation of something larger
Pedagogical (adj.) – concerning teaching methods
Mundane (adj.) – dull, not exciting, dreary
Anachronistic (adj.) – out-dated, obsolete
Kinesthetic (adj.) – related to body or physiology
Paradigmatic shift (noun) – great and important change
Lingua Franca (noun) – common language of communication