Factors Influencing Language Development
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Factors Influencing Language Development


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Write an essay in about 2000 words on Cognitive abilities are the key factor driving the development of first language acquisition whereas social or individual factors are the key factor determining the success of second language acquisition. To what extent do you agree with this statement?



Learning a language is one of the most vital goals for any individual. Often deemed as milestones for a toddler, language literacy is also important for the adults, as it helps them to communicate within a society. Incidentally, the process of language development enables not just the compression of the intricacy of the language, rather also focuses on gaining information shared by other people through the said language. As per Bielak and Pawlak (2013), social capital of an individual is also developed through the learning of a new language, hence, it is one of the most sought-after competencies for cultural accustoming. While, there are varied factors which influence the language development, such as: motivation, personality of the learner, environmental gradients, curriculum, teaching background and cognitive abilities for a learner (Johnston, 2010). The relevance of cognition or the innate language learning ability of an individual, as well as their social influences has been recognized as predominant variables for language acquisition. Since, second language acquisition is often based on elective or circumstantial reasons, as opposed to the primary language acquisition. The factors thus driving both language acquisitions are studied in detail through the present review to support the statement, 'Cognitive abilities are the key factor driving the development of first language acquisition whereas social or individual factors are the key factor determining the success of second language acquisition'.


Language acquisition and development 

Cognitive influence 

On an average a child acquires basic language skills from the environment around them, and the associated stimulus. However, not each child acquires language at the same pace, and hence, a need to reflect upon the mental competency, and the ability to process their information and memorize the same needs to be considered (Castello, 2015). In their review, Saville and Troike (2005) notes that pragmatic and communication competency of a learner has a direct impact on their language development. As a result of which, often a child is more likely to acquire language skills through associating with objects, while the other can gain language awareness through communication. 

Even as the scope of language acquisition for a child varies based on their cognitive abilities, it is reflected that the extent of exposure and the need to communicate also predominates the extent of language acquired (Johnston, 2010). Thus, the need to communicate and the language development (verbal and non-verbal) is deemed to be inter-related for a learner. It is through the same manner, the vocabulary development in a young learner is noted, even as the grammatical construct of the language is acquired much later in life (Bielak and Pawlak, 2013). In their review, Newman et al. (2012) notes that similar concepts are applied for the second language learner, as they often learn certain phrases or words of the language, before gaining a comprehension of the grammatical construct for the language. In which sense, the social association and cohesion to the language is recognized as a cognitive driver for second language learning. 

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