Cognitive and Affective Ability towards Language Acquisition

In Douglas Brown’s book, Principle of Language Learning and Teaching Fifth Edition page 33 chapter 2 in paragraph 1 line 5, it states that “language was just one manifestation of the cognitive and affective ability.” It means that language and human cannot be separated. How human gets first language, then it is produced to communicate with others and it will affect human’s life. The statement inspires the writer to take “Cognitive and Affective Ability towards Language Acquisition” as the topic to be discussed.

Language is used by human as a tool of communication. But, we, as a human, cannot have language directly because we have to get language learning process firstly. Hurford (2004) said that the first thing that comes to mind is our own native language. Language is taught to us since we are infant and continues on as we grow up by the environment, interaction and discourse as Brown’s statement, children are then shaped by their environment …. children learn to function in a language chiefly through interaction and discourse. So, first language acquisition is affected by environment, interaction and discourse.

Related to cognitive and affective ability, first language is also affected by them. Brown states that all human beings are genetically equipped with abilities that enable them to acquire language. Also, Klein (1986) states that first language acquisition is intimately bound up with the child’s cognitive and social development. How human produces language, it depends on their cognitive and affective ability.

Based on the writer’s experience, the writer has a young sister. Now, she is 12 years old. Her name is Nala. The writer still remember when Nala was still a baby. It happened when the writer was invited by her father to go around the city at evening with Nala. On the way, they looked many lights in the streets and the writer called Nala to look the lights while the writer said ‘Waahh, so many lights’. So, Nala tried to pronounce it with ‘mpu, mpu.’ But, now, she is 12 years old, the way of her language has been different when she was a baby. She has pronounced ‘a light’ perfectly. The writer thinks that the language we have, it is caused by the development of cognitive and affective ability we have. The development of human is followed by the development of cognitive and affective ability themselves.

Another experience that the writer wants to share in relation with the topic is the writer’s way in writing in a written language. The writer likes writing on a blog. She started it since 2009. She feels that the writing style in 2009 (18 years old) and now (23 years old) is different. At the first year, when the writer wants to write ‘I’ into Indonesian language, it was ‘akkuuhh, guee.’ It is like ‘alayer’. But, now ‘I’ becomes ‘saya.’ The writer feels the writing style is more focused, as well the language use. These changes are caused by many experiences to the writer when she starts to write a blog. There are many friends (bloggers) and good articles which surround her, so it brings the new comprehension how she writes. It is supported by the statement of Moghaddam and Araghi in their journal about Brain-Based Aspects of Cognitive Learning Approaches in Second Language Learning, “…after an environment is created and the methods are appropriate in the manner of the brain’s learning process, students will not need much instruction, they will be able to understand and do activities on their own.” So, in this case, the quality of language of human is generated by cognitive and affective ability.

Language is generated by human with paying attention to the ability than human has, especially at the first language. In accordance with the statement in Brown’s book that states ‘language was just one manifestation of the cognitive and affective ability’, it can affects the quality of language. There is combination between cognitive and affective ability to produce language. The trained ability of a person, the better way of human generates language.


Brown, H, Douglas. 2007. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, Fifth Edition. USA. Pearson Education, Inc.

Hurford R, James. 2004. Human Uniqueness, Learned Symbols and Recursive Thought. (September 17, 2014)

Klein, Wolfgang. 1986. Second Language Acquisition. New York. Cambridge University Press.

Moghaddam N, Alireza and Seyed M. Araghi. Brain-Based Aspects of Cognitive Learning Approaches in Second Language Learning. Journal of Canadian Center of Science and Education. (6). 55-61.


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