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Saffran et al. suggest “infants possess experience-dependent mechanisms that may be powerful enough to support not only word segmentation but also the acquisition of other aspects of language”; they motivate “innately based statistical learning mechanisms rather than innate knowledge” operating on “statistical properties of the language input” in order to allow the child to induce linguistic knowledge.
Statistical learning approaches to language emphasize the richness of human communication: it is the primary source of data from which the child identifies patterns in their native language. In this Article, we are going to elaborate on the notion of statistical learning and try to show why it is necessary to understand the characteristics of such notion which arises from the computational human mind. This short, but rather general survey of the function of statistical learning will hopefully manifest, at least in part, some of the language learning difficulties in adults and may provide ideas for the practicing teachers as to how to tackle the issue.