• Revision:Child language acquisition - speaking

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Beginnings of language development

Pre birth

  • Has been scientifically proven that a baby can recognise the mothers voice.
  • Before the child is born it can recognise words.
  • Music can develop a baby’s brain.

 

Stage 1: BASIC BIOLOGICAL NOISE STAGE (0-8 weeks)

  • Child expresses itself through crying.
  • They show reflexive responses and not conscious responses.
  • Child starts with vowel ‘A’ sounds.
  • They learn to control their air stream mechanism.

 

Stage 2: COOING & LAUGHING STAGE (8-20 weeks)

  • Make different cooing noises – e.g. ‘coo’, ‘goo’ ‘ga-ga’
  • Recognise parents faces and speech.
  • Towards the end of the stage they begin to string cooing noises.
  • They recognise language has a structure.
  • Learn to express themselves through laughing and chuckling.
  • Have control over their tongue.

 

Stage 3: VOCAL PLAY (20-30 weeks)

  • Begin to use consonant and vowel sounds.
  • Able to adjust pitch.
  • ‘playing and experimenting’

 

Stage 4: BABBLING STAGE (25-50 weeks)

  • 2 types of babbling sounds-
  • --> RE-DUPLICATING- repeat sounds (e.g. woof woof)
  • --> VARIGATED- use different sound patterns and put them together.
  • The words have no meaning to the child as they think they are just making sounds.

 

Stage 5: MELODIC UTTERANCE STAGE (10-13 months)

  • A variation in rhythm, melody and tone is shown
  • The child begins to see some meaning to what they say.
  • Proto words used- when the child doesn’t say words it recognises but realises that words are parts of a sound.

 

AGE 12-18 MONTHS

  • Developments occur rapidly.
  • Intonations used to show feelings and purpose.
  • Children begin to develop at different levels.
  • Single word utterances – concrete nouns
  • Holophrastic phrases – couple of words put together which have no grammatical concept
  • Child learns about 10-20 words each month.
  • Over extension – when child uses one word to describe lots of things.
    • no concept of differentiating
    • e.g. 4 legged object = dog
  • Under extension - have yet to acquire the knowledge that there are many numbers of the same thing in the world ( e.g. lots of cars in world)
    • have yet to acquire the concept of concrete nouns.
  • Mismatch – get the name of something wrong (e.g. car = doll)
  • Begin to use modifiers so add extra words in front of another word (e.g. go sleep)

 

AGE 18-24 MONTHS

  • Have a vocabulary of 200 words – shows how quickly they are learning.
  • Pronunciation  - some syllables dropped (e.g. tomato = mato)
    • Consonant clusters avoided i.e. sky - guy
    • Re-duplicate sounds- e.g. baby = baybay
    • no consistency of speaking

 

Pragmatic development  

The functions of children’ language

  • HALLIDAY 1978 – suggested 7 stages which show the functions of a child's language.

 

  • The first 4 stages help the child to satisfy its physical, emotional and social needs.

 

Stage 1: INSTRUMENTAL STAGE

  • Child uses language to express needs and get what they want.
  • First words are mainly concrete nouns
  • E.g. want drink

 

Stage 2: REGULATORY STAGE

  • Language is used to tell others what to do.
  • Child realises language is a useful tool as by using language they can get what they want.
  • E.g. go away

 

Stage 3: INTERACTIONAL STAGE

  • Language is used to communicate with other people and form a relationship.
  • Realise language goes beyond what you need.
  • E.g. love you, daddy, thank you,

 

Stage 4: PERSONAL STAGE

  • When the child uses language to express feelings and opinions.
  • Realise language is more then demanding and get praised for using language.
  • E.g. me good girl,

 

The next 2 stages help the child come to terms with the environment.  

Stage 5: HEURISTIC STAGE

  • This is when language is used to gain info about the environment /world.
  • This is when a child questions everything and is always seeking an answer.
  • E.g. what that tractor doing?

 

Stage 6: IMAGININATIVE STAGE

  • Language is used to tell stories and to create an imaginary situation.
  • Child is able to recognise an object can be called many things.
  • E.g. creating an imaginary friend

  Last stage is the representational stage where the child uses language to convey facts and information  

Stage 7: INFORMATIVE STAGE

  • Child begins to use language to talk about brand new things.
  • They learn to represent themselves using language
  • E.g. telling a story about what happened to them.

 

Theories of language acquisition

Theory 1: THE IMITATION THEORY

  • Theory suggests children learn language through copying and imitating others.

 

Positives

  • Imitation is important in phonological development.
  • Children develop regional accents suggesting they imitate the sounds from people around them.

Negatives

  • Children don’t pick up grammatical structures immediately as some children show an incorrect use of grammar. For example they may say ‘wented’ instead of went. Showing they have not imitated this of others.
  • Kids normally only use the words they understand so if they imitate of others they would copy all words spoken by another person.
  • If the kid is deaf, it cannot copy another person therefore uses sign language suggesting this theory does not provide an account for all kids.

 

Theory 2: INNATENESS THEORY

  • Ability to learn is inborn.
  • We only experience with language in order to activate the L.A.D.
  • Chomsky suggested everyone is born with a special brain mechanism (language acquisition device – L.A.D)
  • The L.A.D has the ability to tell you that all language has a structure.
  • The L.A.D is a pre programmed box.
  • The L.A.D tells us if we are using a past tense and that it needs to be changed.

 

Positives

  • Suggests why children learn to speak so quickly.

Negatives

  • No one has ever known where the L.A.D is placed.

 

Theory 3: COGNITION THEORY

  • A child must understand the word they use before choosing to use them.
  • Suggesting children only learn words if the intellectually understand.
  • E.g. anger – is an emotion which you can’t see so when child uses the word anger they learn it as an emotion and are able to understand it.

 

Theory 4: INPUT THEORY

  • This theory focuses on the language used by the parents.
  • Motherese, parentese, caretaker language.
  • The theory stresses that it is important to focus on the person who helps teach the children to speak.

Features:

  • The speed of speech is greatly decreased
  • Variation in pitch/intonation
  • Parent encourages speech through the use of questions
  • Parent frames sentences in order to help the child.
  • Parents interaction with child helps them to understand the concepts of turn taking, adjacency pairs etc.

Basic summary of the features a parent uses when talking to their child

Phonology

  • Slower, clearer pronunciation
  • More pauses, especially between phrases and sentences. – help introduce the child to the rules of conversation.
  • Higher pitch. – Makes a child pay attention and listen carefully.
  • Exaggerated intonation and stress. ^^^

 

Lexis

  • Simpler, more restricted vocabulary. – makes language more accessible for child
  • Diminutive forms used (e.g. doggie)
  • Concrete language, referring to objects in the child’s environment

 

Grammar

  • Simpler constructions.
  • Frequent use of imperatives.
  • High degree of repetition. – Child is able to understand the meaning of words as parents make the child pay attention to the object by repeating the word.
  • Frequent use of questions. – Increases the child’s understanding of auxiliary verbs
  • Use of personal names instead of pronouns (e.g ‘mummy will take you shopping’ instead of ‘I will take you shopping’.


Comments

These notes are aimed at A Level English students at A2 level.

Originally written by BlondKelly18 on TSR Forums.

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