ENGB3 complete child language acquisition revision notes

Here are my revision notes on everything we need to know for ENGB3 language acquisition.

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Charlotte Round
Early language development
Language development begins in the womb...
DeCasper and Spence found that babies sucked on their dummies more when their
mothers read them the same stories they'd been read in the last six months of
pregnancy
Mehler et al found four day old French babies increased sucking on their dummies
when they heard French (opposed to other languages)
Fitzpatrick found the heart rate of an unborn baby slowed when it heard its mothers
voice
Even in the womb babies become familiar with sounds, rhythm and intonation!
Babies use their vocal chords straight away...
Between birth and the first words is the pre-language stage
Crying, is the first main vocal expression a baby makes, it makes the caregiver aware
the baby wants something
It's not conscious, it's an instinctive responsive the baby makes
The cooing stage is next
Cooing starts at six to eight weeks old
Babies start making a small range of sounds, getting used to moving their lips and
mouths
It starts with vowels (such as /u/ and /a/) ­ they start to link those to produce
extended vowel combinations such as oooh and ahhh
Then they start to use velar consonants, like /k/ and /g/, to form sounds like coo and
gaa
This is vocal play and is the start of babbling
These sounds do not carry any meaning, at all!
Babbling comes after cooing!
This usually starts when the baby is six months old
They start to produce repeated consonant/vowel combinations: ma-ma-ma-ma or,
ba-ba-ba-ba
This babbling is known as reduplicated or canonical babbling
If the sounds are not repeated, e.g. goo-gi-goo-ga, this is called variegated babbling
Research has shown deaf babies that are exposed to sign language will babble with
their hands! This suggests babbling is an innate activity...

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Some people argue babbling is just another stage of vocal play, the sounds do not
carry meaning
However, some people argue it is the beginning of speech:
Petitto and Holowka video recorded infants and noted that most of babbling came
from the right side of the mouth ­ which is controlled by the left side of the brain. This
side of the brain is responsible for speech production.…read more

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Phonological and pragmatic
development
Children learn vowels and consonants at different speeds.…read more

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Intonation...
Intonation is even developed at the babbling stage
When children begin to put words together it become more obvious they stress
certain words e.g. mine
Cruttenden found that ten-year-olds had difficulty distinguishing between;
1. She dressed, and fed the baby (she dressed herself, and then fed the baby)
2. She dressed and fed the baby (she dressed the baby and fed it too)
The functions of children's language...
Halliday states that the early language of children has 7 functions!
Instrumental To get something... e.g.…read more

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Lexis, grammar and semantics
Age Number of words used
18 months 50+
2 years 300
5 years Approx. 3000
7 years Approx. 4000
Children's ability to understand words will develop faster than their ability to use them. E.g.
at 18 months a child can say around fifty but, understand around 250...
Children's first words relate to their immediate surroundings, they are connected to
what the child can sense (taste, touch etc...…read more

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Analogical is when a word is used to refer to things that aren't in the same category
but have some physical or functional relation to each other e.g. the word `hat' is used
to describe anything related to the head!
Aitchison ­ development process;
1. Labelling is when a child links a sound to an object ­ they are able to call something
by its correct name
2. Packaging is when a child begins to understand the range of meaning a word might
have.…read more

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By age five, children will be able to use a variety of grammatical constructions;
1. Coordinating conjunctions (and & but) to link separate utterances
2. Negatives involving the auxiliary `do' e.g. `don't like it'
3. Questions formed with who, where and what
4.…read more

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They automatically used to rule that states ­s is added to create a plural ­ this is
internalisation!
Learning to ask questions:
1. Stage one ­ 18 months: During the two word stage, children start to use rising
intonation to indicate a question...
2. Stage two ­ 2-3: In telegraphic talk, children to continue using rising intonation ­
but start to use `Wh' words (who, where, what), as they continue to develop they
use more interrogative pronouns (why, when and how)
3.…read more

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DETERMINERS
THESE ARE ANOTHER FUNCTION WORD ACQUIRED LATER IN DEVELOPMENT.
THEY ARE ATTACHED TO NOUNS AND ARE: ARTICLES (A, THE), NUMERALS (ONE), POSSESSIVES (MY), QUANTIFIERS
(SOME/MANY), OR DEMONSTRATIVES (THIS.)
POST-TELEGRAPHIC STAGE
THIS IS WHEN THE REMAINING FUNCTION WORDS ARE ACQUIRED AND USED APPROPRIATELY.…read more

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Theories of language acquisition
The imitation theory:
Skinner suggested that language is acquired through imitation and reinforcement;
1. Children repeat what they hear (imitation)
2. Caregivers then reward a children's efforts with praise
3.…read more

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