Child Language Acquisition - Speech/Reading and Writing

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  • Created on: 14-05-14 09:52
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Child Language Acquisition
Speech and Theories
Before Birth ­ it is possible that before birth, children become acclimatised to the sounds of their
native language.
Crying ­ First few weeks ­ child expresses itself vocally through crying. This signals hunger, distress
or pleasure.
Cooing ­ 6­8 weeks ­ child develops increasing control over vocal chords.
Babbling ­ 6-9 months ­ sounds begin to resemble adult sounds more closely. Consonant and vowel
combinations are used. Bilabial (using the lips) sounds are most common. The repetition of these
sounds is called monosyllabic reduplication.
Phonemic Expansion ­ during the babbling stage, the number of phonemes used increases (expands).
Phonemic Contraction ­ 9-10 months ­ number of phonemes used reduces (contracts) to those found
in the native language.
Intonation ­ intonation patterns begin to resemble speech. Rising intonation at the end of an
utterance is most common. As a child grows older, a wider range of meanings are expressed through
Gesture ­ the desire to communicate is indicated through gesture as the child does not have the
power of speech yet.
Understanding ­ although the child is unable to speak, they may understand the meanings of certain
words. The recognition of words is usually evident by the end of the child's first year. More
commonly used words include names, `no' and `bye-bye'.
First words ­ somewhere around 12 months the child makes it first recognisable words (holophrase).
Before Birth - it is possible that a baby has started to become acclimatised to the sounds of its native
Underextension ­ the child restricts the application of words. For example, uses "cat" for the family
pet but not for other cats.
Overextension ­ the child uses a word in a wider context than an adult would and misunderstand the
precise application. For example, the child uses "ball" to describe a ball and other round objects.
One Word Stage ­ 12-18 months ­ the child speaks in one word utterances. Sometimes more than
one word may be involved however; this is when a group of words have become a single unit.
Two Word Stage ­ 2 years ­ child has an average of a 50 word vocabulary and begins putting words
together. Most utterances consist of only two words, for example, "more juice". No inflections to
mark number, person or tense.

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Meanings of Two Word Utterances ­ a child's two word utterances can express a range of complex
Telegraphic Stage ­ 2-3 years ­ no 3 word stage, the child moves on to using 3, 4, 5 words or more.
There is a lack of function words, absence of prepositions, conjunctions and articles. Utterances
mainly consist of content words such as nouns and verbs.
Post-telegraphic Stage ­ 3+ years ­ increasing awareness of grammatical rules and irregularities.…read more

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The child imitates the speech of others and acquires language this way.
When the child successfully produces the words successfully, it receives encouragement and
approval, motivating them to repeat the behaviour.
Regards language as similar to other human behaviour, if we receive positive reinforcement we
are more likely to perform the action again, however if we receive negative reinforcement we
are less likely to repeat the action.
Noam Chomsky 1965 (Innanteness)
Children have an innate (inborn) ability to understand the rules underlying language (e.g.…read more

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During their second year) children acquire question words such as `what', `where', `why', `how'
and `who' however they still miss out auxiliary verbs.
(During their third year) children begin to use auxiliary verbs and learn to form questions by
reversing the order of subject and verb.…read more

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Adverbial ­ adds extra information to an utterance or sentence.
Inflections ­ endings on words that convey tense, number etc.
Determiner ­ defines the amount of something, for example, `the' or `a'.
Subject ­ the thing(s) being discussed.
Object ­ the thing receiving the action.
Possessive ­ indicates the possession of something, for example, `my'.
Auxiliary Verbs ­ a verb used to form tenses, for example, `be', `do', `have'.…read more

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Speaking slowly, using simplified vocabulary and using simple grammatical structures make language
more accessible to the child and make the task of comprehending the language and developing the
ability to use it much easier.
Exaggerated prosodic features, gestures and facial expressions keep the child's attention so they
listen to what is being said.
The use of frequent interrogatives improves the child's understanding of auxiliary verbs such as,
`did', `have' and `will'.…read more

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Learning to Read and Write
Readability ­ the readability of a text and what makes it readable to a child, for example, repetition,
use of images, simple sentences etc.
Reinforcement (Skinner) ­ positive and negative reinforcement used to encourage the child.…read more

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Stage 1: Initial reading and decoding (ages 6-7)
Children begin to learn the relationship between sounds and letters and can read simple texts
compromising of short words. A child understands more spoken words (about 4,000) than written
words (about 600).
Stage 2: Confirmation and fluency (ages 7-8)
The child begins to steadily increase their reading skills and vocabulary. A child now understands
around 9,000 spoken words and 3,000 written words.…read more


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