Here is a fascinating study on how we acquire the first step in forming language. The researchers could get Baboons to recognize real words from just non-sense strings of letters with 75% accuracy after roughly 10,000 attempts. This is pattern recognition and is fundamental to taking the next step which is to associate words with meaning followed finally by the ability to distinguish one meaning over another given a certain context.
And a here is a video of the baboons correctly making those choices over at National Geographic
it is this kind of clever patter recognition that forms the basis of our statistical natural language procession machine learning algorithms. This approach is at the heart of Big Data Lens effort to make all the web a useable - understandable database.