Language Development in the First Year

this document is based on the topic of Child Language Acquisition (CLA), this is the first part of a series of documents that I created for the subject. Throughout the series I endeavour to introduce as many language development theories and theorists as I could, also some key terminologies are being explained briefly. Good Luck

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  • Created by: Nora
  • Created on: 11-02-12 12:08
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Language Development in the First Year
Children are born with advantages that help them in the task of acquiring
speech sounds:
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
Spanish cannot.
DAVID CRYSTAL identified 3 particular abilities that are required to communicate with someone using
spoken language:
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
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.


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