Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man.
St Francis Xavier paraphrasing Aristotle (with a certain sinister undertone).
Amongst all the great apes, Homo sapiens has an unusual gift. The ability to hear a sound and then to copy it. This skill arises from an innate drive to learn language, and to communicate. This is a hard wired aid to social living that has developed over millions of years of evolution.
This drive to learn is seen in the “babbling” phase that we all pass through as infants. We make repetitive sounds, as if practicing, before we start to speak words. This stage occurs in children of all language groups, all of whom make similar sounds; it is also present in those children who are born deaf.