October 6, 2007
HDP1, Section: Fri @ 4:00
Lecture 9/27, Assignment 1
The hypothesis of how children learn language and why they behave this way is through
imitation. So, for example, if the child is raised by parents and siblings with poor grammar, the
child is very likely to have the same grammatical problems. Another important factor for
children to learn languages, other than their family, are friends, and even the media. Parents
often expose their children to toys that ‘speak’ or daytime television for children. Educational
shows, such as
help children also. Although not all children watch these
types of shows, those children who do, this type of media plays some influential or significant
role in a child’s learning experience.
Another core issue revolves around neurodevelopment, about how specific input is
correlated to age. It is a normal for children of age 5 to attend kindergarten or first grade and
learn their alphabets, etc. what about child prodigies? We cannot just leave out the 8 year-old
geniuses or math prodigies. Are these children’s neurodevelopment more mature or advanced
compared to the average child of the same age? Or is the average child not exposed to some type
of special treatment or teaching that the genius child has had?
Another important factor is “stasis” during neurodevelopment. These periods of stasis are
when humans are still undergoing learning, but ‘unseen’ changes. I don’t think the stasis period
has any relevance. Humans are constantly learning, and labeling a certain time period as stasis
just makes that time period less important, or belittles what is learned during that time.
Lecture 10/2, Assignment 2
Humans and non-human primates differ in the area of language. Evolution has separated our
close relative from us; our evolution in comparison seems to have evolved at a faster rate. One
example of human’s close primate relatives are bonobos. Studying bonobos, scientists have
deduced that they can hear and understand human language, but only certain words that are
repeated to them for them to learn throughout time. Although the bonobos can listen and
understand human language, compared to human babies there are many differences. The biggest
one is because of their vocal tracks. Chimpanzees and other non-human primates cannot hold
their breath or control their breathing, so they are unable to talk.
The Broca’s area or the language organ is positioned at the left side of the brain. This important
area controls language. Studies show that injury to that area, causes one to be unable to speak,
and causes problems with comprehension of language and grammar. Although this area is
important for human language, it is not the only factor to understand and learn language. There
are infants whose Broca’s areas have been removed, or has never been born with it. Although
this is true, many of these infants grow and have no problem with comprehending language.
What I believe is that these children that have been born without this area, and because of