It’s quite interesting that after anguished crying and babbling stage in the beginning, children gradually learn their language and become able to gain competency. There are several studies conducted to investigate how children learn their languages. Though several language theories related to the first language acquisition, such as Behavioral, Nativist and Functional, have been developed, a complete and confirmed theory has not yet been claimed.
Chomsky (1965) claimed the brain is not just a blank slate (tabula rasa) that is waiting to be filled and that it already possesses some highly complex structures that is operational as we get mixed up and interact with our linguistic environment. As proposed by Chomsky, there is, in our brain, a device called LAD (Language Acquisition Device), which is optimally operational and it allows children to acquire language easily and fast.
In the beginning, children listen to their environmental stimuli i.e. languages spoken around them, and gradually, they try to speak the utterances they have already heard during their silent period. Some children who are intelligent and have good auditorial skills learn their language fast while some others do not learn so easily.
Theorists claim that children constantly form hypotheses on the basis of the input they receive, and then they test those hypotheses in their speech. As their language develops, those hypotheses are continually revised and used in speech correctly after making some changes. Children, saying
“Mummy milk” in the beginning, learn to utter “Mummy milk me” “Mummy, I want milk” gradually.
Studies claim that it depends on a child’s individual construction of linguistic understanding and reality in interaction with their environment. Parental speech and speech of older siblings affect children’s acquiring their language. Children are good imitators, and imitation is one of the important strategies a child uses in the acquisition of the first language. Their fluency or fastness depends on how much they they practice. I mean the frequency that they hear and produce the same words, phrases or sentences in acquisition of the language also plays a vital role. Thus children’s individual capacity, their environment and input, imitation and practice become some of their “secrets” that enable them to acquire a language seemingly efficiently.