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Learning And Acquisition- Download English Grammar Study Notes FREE PDF For CTET Exam

In many teaching exams including CTET and other State TETs etc. English languages play a vital role in the CTET and Other State Exams as candidates have to answer 30 questions in total in every such exam. In these exams, candidates need to face 15 questions of English content and 15 questions of English Pedagogy in each paper. To help candidates tackle English Pedagogy, we have come up with high-quality study material for the candidates. In the following article, the candidates will find all the relevant information on one of the most important topics of English Pedagogy- Learning and Acquisition.


Learning and acquisition are two fundamental processes through which individuals acquire and develop language skills. These terms are often used in the context of language learning, but they can also apply to various other forms of learning. Let’s explore the definitions and concepts of learning and acquisition.

(1) Concept of Learning

Learning is a process of acquiring new skills or knowledge and improving the existing skills also. An individual undergoes a change in his/her knowledge and behaviour on account of learning. Everyone is different from one another in acquiring skills, which means everyone has a different rate or speed of learning. Certain factors such as environment, learner’s ability and motivation, teacher’s capabilities and ways of imparting knowledge all impact a person’s learning experience.
The Critical Period: The hypothesis states that the first few years of life constitute the time during which language develops readily and after which language acquisition is much more difficult and ultimately less successful.

(A) Types of Learning

1. Motor Learning: Most of our activities in day-to-day life refer to motor activities e.g. walking, running, driving, climbing etc. All these activities involve muscular coordination.
2. Verbal Learning: This type of learning involves the language we speak, and the communication methods we adopt e.g. signs, pictures, symbols, words, sounds etc are the tools used in such activities.
3. Conceptual Learning: in this form of learning, we require higher-order mental processes like thinking, reasoning, and intelligence. With the use of these, the child learns different concepts.

(B) Factors Affecting Learning

(1) Factors Related to Learner
• Learner’s motivation determines the intensity of learning.
• Learner’s efficiency or mental capacity.
• Learner’s interest and aptitude towards the subject.
• Learner’s general health.
• Learner’s attention, readiness and willpower.

(2) Factors Related to Teachers are
• Teacher’s command over the subject.
• Teacher’s way of communicating,
• Teacher’s personality and attitude towards learners.
• Teacher’s behaviour with students.

(3) Factors Related to the Environment, Teaching Materials and Human Resources are
• Conducive environment to learning.
• Structure and size of classrooms.
• Availability of appropriate subject material to facilitate the learning process.
• Home environment of the learner.

(2) Concept of Acquisition

When language is learned naturally and without any systematic practice, it is called acquisition. The term ‘learning and acquisition’ are complementary. Learners acquire language when it is used in a natural environment.

(A) Language Acquisition

• Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive, produce and use words to understand and communicate.
• This capacity involves the picking up of diverse capacities including syntax, phonetics and an extensive vocabulary.
• This language might be vocal as with speech or manual as in sign.
• Language acquisition usually refers to first language acquisition, which studies infants’ acquisition of their native language, rather than second language acquisition, which deals with the acquisition (in both children and adults) of additional languages.
• The capacity to acquire and use language is a key aspect that distinguishes humans from other organisms. While many forms of animal communication exist, they have a limited range of non – syntactically structured vocabulary tokens that lack cross-cultural variation between groups.

(B) Concepts Associated with Acquisition and Learning

(i) Piaget’s Concept: This concept states that learning starts with adaptation, assimilation and accommodation. He also said that classification was also important to learning a language.
• Certain words and sounds needed to be grouped together to better understand and use them in speech.
• Through assimilation, the learner takes the information and changes it to make it suitable for him.

(ii) Concept of Chomsky: Chomsky states that every person possesses a Language Learning Device or (LLD) which is a hypothetical tool hard-wired into the brain.
• It helps children rapidly learn and understand a language.
• He also states that all children are born with an understanding of the rules of language; they simply need to acquire vocabulary.

(iii) Vygotsky’s Concept of Learning and Acquisition: Vygotsky was of the opinion that social interaction played an important role in the development of cognition.
• According to him, ‘community’ also plays a central role in the process of making meaning and learning is a necessary and universal aspect of the process of developing culturally organized, specifically human psychological function.
• In other words, higher mental processes in the individual have their origin in social processes. He places more emphasis on the role of language in cognitive development.

(iv) Pavlov’s Concept of Learning: Pavlov propounded a new theory of learning known as Classical Conditioning, according to him classical conditioning is a reflexive or automatic type of learning in which a stimulus acquires the capacity to evoke a response that was originally evoked by another stimulus.
• ‘Classical conditioning’ is based on habit formation Pavlov was of the view that humans learn due to some stimulus.

(3) Language Development in Children

Communication between people who know each other and respect each other is one of the most important factors in the language development of a child.
Children need to learn a language in order to understand things around them.
It is through language that they express their feelings and communicate with others. With the development of language only, children are able to represent and express new ideas and complex matters also. When children are not able to put their feelings into words, they are very disturbed and this situation can reduce or damage their self-esteem.

(A) Initial Stage of Language Development

The desire to communicate starts at birth. Babies learn quickly how to get their needs met by crying, cooing and making eye – contact with their immediate family.
• A child’s overall development and mental health are affected greatly by his ability to communicate in a variety of ways.
• Words are the most important tool through which a child gets connected to his family as well as to the rest of the world.
• Through words only a child stores information and parts with his feelings and experiences.
• Children as young as 3 years of age already possess a remarkable knowledge of language structure and syntax which is so complex and precise that it must challenge any known learning theory to account for its acquisition.

(B) Actual Stage of Language Development

The initial years of childhood can be called preparation time for learning a language.
• The language development starts with the oral expressions that a child uses to express himself. He / She learns a language through words, sentences and then complex structures.
• After a child starts going to school, the child develops the ability to read as well as write. Slowly, the child becomes proficient in all types of learning skills from listening and speaking to reading and writing.
• Language development thus helps him not only in using language as an expression tool but through proficiency in language the child becomes knowledgeable and changes into an all-developed personality.

(C) Development of Vocabulary

In the initial years of growing up child’s vocabulary also grows manifold. Children typically understand or recognize more words than they usually speak.
When the child is one or one and a half years old, he understands more words than he speaks.

Table showing vocabulary of children in different age groups:

The following table shows the vocabulary of children throughout their life based on their age group.

Children’s Age Children’s Vocabulary
From birth to 8 months 0
From the 9th month to one year upto one and a half years Three to four words 10 to 12 words
Up to 2 years 272 words
Up to 2 years to 6 months 450 words
Up to 3 years 1000 words
Up to 3 years and 6 months 1250 words
Up to 4 years 1600 words
Up to 5 years 2100 words
Up to 11 years 50000 words
Up to 14 years 80000 words
16 years+ More than 1 lakh (million) words

(D) Vocabulary Learning

The vocabulary learning of a child in different age groups is shown below-
• Child reaches school age and heads to kindergarten, he/she will have a vocabulary of around 2000 words. Talking and reading are very good sources of vocabulary development in a child.
• Parents or other family members must talk to the child about his/her day at school, about teachers, about books she/he checked out at the libraries or something funny that happened at school etc.
• It is important to encourage children’s vocabulary development so that they develop the language and literacy skills necessary to succeed in school.

(E) Strategies to Increase Vocabulary

Some tips or strategies to increase a child’s vocabulary are as follows
• Follow your child’s lead. If parents talk about what interests the child, he/she may pay attention and learn new words.
• Don’t bombard one child with new words the child should be given time to make a response and use his/her vocabulary to express feelings.
• Children need to hear a word repeatedly. Along with speaking new words, some actions or gestures should follow. It really helps in acquiring new words easily.

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What is the concept of learning?

Learning is the process of acquiring new skills, knowledge, or improving existing ones through study, practice, or instruction. Factors like motivation, environment, and teacher influence the learning process.

What are the types of learning?

There are three types of learning: motor learning (physical skills), verbal learning (language and communication), and conceptual learning (higher-order mental processes like thinking and reasoning).

What are the factors affecting learning?

Factors related to the learner (motivation, ability, interest), factors related to the teacher (subject knowledge, communication skills), and factors related to the environment (classroom, teaching materials) influence learning.

What is the concept of acquisition?

Acquisition refers to the natural and unconscious process of picking up a language through exposure to a language environment. It contrasts with formal learning, as seen in language learning classrooms.

What is language acquisition?

Language acquisition is the process by which humans naturally acquire the capacity to understand and communicate using words and language structures. It typically refers to first language acquisition in infants.

What are the concepts associated with acquisition and learning?

Concepts like Piaget's theory of adaptation, Chomsky's Language Learning Device, Vygotsky's social interaction, and Pavlov's classical conditioning influence language development and learning.

How does language development occur in children?

Language development in children starts with oral expressions and progresses to reading and writing skills. Children's vocabulary grows significantly during early childhood, impacting their overall development.