Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Language Acquisition

  • Anna Dina L Joaquin
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2416-1



Process of acquiring the sound system, structures, rules, and symbolic representations of a language and their meanings.


How typically developing children universally acquire their primary language(s) with ease before any or without formal schooling is the foundation of research in language acquisition. There have been two general strands of research: nativist and nonnativist. The nativist approach proposes that an innate module gives humans a priori knowledge about the nature of language, specifically syntax, and results in the universal acquisition of language among all typically developing children (Chomsky 1957, 1975). The second strand assumes that there is no innate mechanism specifically dedicated to language, but innate social and cognitive abilities that have evolved for other purposes. There has been no clear winner as research from other disciplines examining...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California State University – NorthridgeNorthridgeUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Carey Fitzgerald
    • 1
  1. 1.University of South Carolina – BeaufortBlufftonUSA