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Chapter: Psychology: Language

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Language Learning in Changed Environments

Wild Children • Isolated Children • Language without Sound • Language without a Model • Children Deprived of Access to Some of the Meanings • Children Exposed to More than One Language: The Case of Bilingualism

LANGUAGE LEARNING IN  CHANGED ENVIRONMENTS

Under normal conditions, language seems to emerge in much the same way in virtually all children all over the world. They progress from babbling to one-word speech, advance to two-word sentences, and eventually graduate to complex sentence forms and meanings. But is this pattern truly universal? What happens when children grow up in environments radically different from those in which language growth usually proceeds? Examining these cases helps us to understand the biological roots of human language and which aspects of the early environment are essential.

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