Miruthulavarshini – Language Acquisition in Children by Frank B. Quirk

Quirk, Frank B. “Language Acquisition in Children”. Elementary English 51.2 (1974): n.pag. Web. 9 June 2016.

Quirk engaged incompatibly in researching language acquisition in children. He introduced a new focus by unravelling the mystery of language acquisition. He says that there is a relationship between a child acquiring its first language (mother tongue) and the historical development of the language. He triggered by this idea when he heard the first year old child babbling which distracted him from his study of Anglo-Saxon pronunciation. He says that the evolution of a child’s language is a mirror image of the historical evolution of the language. To prove his thesis, he also talks about the “Jungian theory” and the biological concept of “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”. He also experimented this with a four year old child, Joshua, he asked the child to write down the alphabet and analyzed it with 2000 year old Greek alphabet to his shock it resembles the same. He also engaged privately with a group of children and found that their accent is similar to the ancient Celtic accent. when he tried to correct a child’s pronunciation he/she refused to pronounce in his way and he rushed to the dictionary and saw the pronunciation he was intellectually shocked that the child’s pronunciation is similar to the old French or old English. Another comparison is not only children read or write backward it is noted that our older version of the Indo – European language did have the convention first of writing backwards. “Recently, when I read an article I came to know that in schools they have introduced a new way in teaching methods.” A teacher supposed to teach backward writing of alphabets to the children. The reason is this practice makes them to increase their memory power. This method was not there when I did my schooling. I think this was the reason why our ancestors wrote backward in Indo – European languages. Quirk too investigated it years ago as an evolution of the child’s language and historical language. I doubt if his statement is true, then what happens in the evolution of the historical language when the child grows older. Why it happens only in children, especially when they acquire their first language?.


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