Alessandra Paul

The debate between nature vs. nurture in psychology seems to be never-ending, for both present an ideal notion and philosophy. However, there is a big argument on “language acquisition.” Is it nature or nurture? What is the reason behind our learned speaking?  Is it different in other countries?  Is it possible that children, despite the country they are in, can learn to speak out of nature? Or nurture? Or both?

            Nature states that all of our learning is genetic and hereditary. This means we are born with the knowledge already; we are born with an innate knowledge. If this is true, then, a simple example can be Mexico or any other nation. Mexico is known to have a low level of education and literacy in their country, and it is only getting worse as time progresses, for the government is unable to take control of even basic education. This misfortune has not let Mexico fall back into a deeper void; children do speak and are able to communicate. There is a theory that states that nature always takes care of us; if we are missing a sense, another sense will be sharpened to help us out. Therefore, the same theory can be applied for the innate feeling of communication, leading children to uncover that knowledge and apply it in the real world. Language and communication is a human need, nothing can nullify it. Children who have even been living in subhuman conditions or in the wild can even learn how to communicate, for it is a basic instinct.

            Nurture, on the other hand, argues that our learning is based on culture, the environment, and society, all of which mold us. This means that all humans are born with “Tabula Rasa,” in other words, a blank slate. Children learn to talk from living and watching factors and characters in their surrounding environment. For example, France is quite strict about their national language. French children learn from their parents, culture, and society to speak in the right manner. Children learn how to speak from imitating the people they see, and society helps these children to do so. Language, for children, has to be taught; it is something that cannot be inherited, like the color of your skin or eyes.

            Nature vs. nurture might be polemical, but in my opinion, one can see that children, no matter where they live, have characteristics of both nature and nurture. There are some things that have to be taught, such as correct speaking, behaving, etc; but there are some factors that are innate and basic in human characteristics, such as communication. A child knows it has to communicate in some way, and does so in moans and cries; then the parent provides the example and the child learns from it. The factor of communication is innate, but it is up to the child’s surroundings to teach him in what way to talk and in what specific language or dialect.