Judy Dubois wrote:
I think of [language acquisition as] a plant growing with roots deep in the soil. All we can do is water it. A lot of the water drains off, but some gets absorbed by the roots, carried up the trunk, becomes sap and through a mysterious process the plant grows and produces new sprouts and buds. The more we try to control the plant’s growth, by putting it in a pot called curriculum, giving it special fertilizers and carefully measured and timed watering, the more delicate and fragile the plant becomes. If we water it too much or not enough, it dies.