How do people acquire and develop language?
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People normally acquire their first languages as infants. Several linguists have theorized that language acquisition "starts", in a sense, by our having a built-in or hard-wired capacity for language. Young babies acquire language by imitating their parents. They learn first basic words that refer to common objects or actions. They learn to associate noises with actions by or objects by repeatedly experiencing both in close conjunction. The ability to understand syntactic relationships and abstract concepts occurs later. Humans have the greatest ability to acquire languages before the ages of seven. As we grow older, though, we can continue to learn new languages.
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