Learning experience. Peers are immensely influential in learning and

Learning a language as a child is influenced immensely by multiple factors, one of the most prominent being our own peers. One can assume that peers would be a less influential factor, preceding parents. Quite the opposite can be concluded from socialistic and linguistic studies, psychological analytics, and personal experience. Peers are immensely influential in learning and communicating virtually anything, especially a language, more so than our own parents. 
In The Telegraph article, “Children Learn Most From Peers Not Parents,” psychologist Judith Rich Harris in her novel The Nurture Assumption, explains the vital, influential roles that peers play in a child’s overall learning environment and development. Her research makes an immense conclusion: “outside influences such as popular culture, friends or street gangs have a much greater influence on children than family life or even genetic make-up” (Harris, 2007). Expanding the study from language skills to general information that a child obtains from peers, gives a much broader explanation as to why they affect not only a person’s language, but overall personality. One reason for the higher influential amount peers have over parents, can simply be the amount of time spent with peers. The average school day in the United States is a total of six and a half hours. Much of this time does not include after-school activities and extracurriculars. The average American child spends more time at school with fellow students, teachers, and administration than they do with parental figures. According to a University of Michigan study, “American children and teens spend about four hours a week on homework and attend school for about 32.5 hours a week” (Swanbrow, 2004). This amount has increased seven and a half times since 1984. Spending more time at school than at home, means a child will be more influenced in virtually learning anything, including language, by their own peers. 
 The article includes a study by Professor Robert Winston, who compared two, six-year-old identical twins, both who grew up in the same family environment and identical genetic make-up. The twins had completely different social factors that proved their family life had little to no effect on their own capabilities. Professor Robert Winston stated the differences between the two twins, saying one of the twins “is a macho little creature who roughhouses with his friends, all boys…  while the other is willing to play with girls, even taking turns to change the nappy on a doll” (Paton, 2007). The twins were taught the same things at home, they were given the same resources by their parents, yet either one was influenced far more greatly by their peers. Incorporating this into the sociology of language means that if these twins were foreign and learning a new language, one would have learned the language completely differently than the other due to who they would have been around at school. The way that they learned that language would have ultimately been influenced by their peers. 
Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club, believes quite the opposite, that the “language spoken in the family… plays a large role in shaping the language of a child” (Tan, 2008), rather than peers. Language spoken in family life does have an impact in children, but the overall idea is that children can achieve their own capabilities through peers, experience, and school. In an intensive psychological and behavioral study done at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, children of Korean background were observed and analyzed by how they learned the English language. The study not only focused on how the student responded to their learning, but also the parents. Parents generally “argued for the positive effects of the program,” stating that “exposure to various activities in the community and at school facilitated their children’s adaption to the culture and people as well as to spoken English” (Han, 2007). The reduced culture shock meant that children would have an easier time with communicative English. This becomes an essential observation as to how well the children who socialized could have learned the language. Part of the conclusion of the study was that “active and social children showed fluency in English, overcoming their initial language barrier” (Han, 2007). Meanwhile, “quiet and unsocial children did not show a strong relationship with their academics” (Han, 2007). This does not necessarily mean that children who don’t socialize with their peers will automatically not be successful at learning a language, but rather they may not expand their capabilities to the potential that they could achieve. 
As a native Spanish speaker, I have experienced the result that peers and school systems have had on both my Spanish and English fluency. Growing up in a home where both parents primarily spoke Spanish, meant I had little to no exposure to English at home. I had grown up being taught Spanish and English side-by-side, but Spanish was always spoken primarily with my parents. I had basic English knowledge before starting school, but wasn’t until I had interacted with fellow students, that I became completely fluent. Now that my two younger siblings are attending elementary and preschool, English is the primary language spoken at home. They are both rather fluent in Spanish, but had no trouble adapting to English from the start. Having an older sibling who primarily speaks English, meant that they had an immediate source to both languages. Whereas, being the oldest meant school was my immediate source to learning fluent English. From a psychological standpoint, our interaction with peers modified our inborn language characteristics. 
Language is a systematic form of communication that children pick up exceedingly well. Parents are the first source of any form of communication, but it isn’t until the child interacts with the real world, that they truly gain the empirical fluency of any language. Socially and psychologically, individuals will eventually adapt to their environment and gain independence to their own ideals, and their own adaption of a language.