First 302 words of the document:
Language Development in the First Year
1.1 INNATE ADVANTAGES:
Children are born with advantages that help them in the task of acquiring
o They attend to the human voice over all other sounds
o They prefer speech to non-speech sounds
o A three-day-old baby can identify its mother's voice (DECASPER AND FIFER
o They can distinguish between speech sounds at a sophisticated level. A
Spanish baby can distinguish `pa' and `ba' but an adult native speaker of
1.2 BEGINNINGS OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT:
DAVID CRYSTAL identified 3 particular abilities that are required to communicate with someone using
o The ability to make sounds and string them together.
o The ability to perceive sounds and understand other's utterances
o The ability to interact with the other person
By twelve months children have become quite sophisticated in all three areas
o Children acquire language by passing through a similar set of stages (universal)
o The time taken to move from one stage to the next varies from child to child.
o The same pattern of development appears regardless the language being acquired
1.3 BEFORE BIRTH:
It's possible that even before birth a baby has started to become acclimatised to the
sounds of its native language. Research by Mehler and others (1988) found that French
babies as young as four days old were able to distinguish French from other languages.
When they were exposed to French, they sucked on dummies more strongly assign of
increased interest. The research suggests that while in the womb babies become used to
the rhythms and intonation of the language being spoken around them.