Oracy Revision Booklet

How children learn to speak - broken down with key terms and key theorists.

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Language Acquisition
Key Terms
Diminutive ­ a word which is
Phonological Development formed with a suffix in order
to create an illusion of
Stages of Development Phonemic expansion ­ the
variety of sounds produced
Vegetative Sounds of discomfort or reflexive actions 0-4
Cooing Comfort sounds / Vocal play 4-7 Phonemic contraction ­ the
Babbling Extended sounds / Repeated patterns 6-12 variety of sounds produced is
Proto-Words Word-like vocalisations 9-12 reduced to the sounds of the
main language.
Remember, that stages of development are just a guide. They do not suggest
that children automatically mature into the next stage as they reach that age; Reduplicated sounds ­
in the data studied, it might be seen that some seem to progress more quickly, sounds made during the
or more slowly, with certain aspects of language. babbling stage which are
Early Phonological Errors Variegated sounds ­ sounds
make during the babbling
Deletion Omitting the final consonant in words. Do(g), cu(p) stage which are not
Substitution Substituting one sound for another. "pip" for
Addition Adding an extra vowel sound to the end of Doggie
words, creating CVCV.
Assimilation Changing one consonant or vowel for "gog" for
another. "dog" Cruttenden
Reduplication Repeating a whole syllable. Dada, mama
Football results from scores
Consonant Consonant clusters can be difficult to "pider" for
Cluster articulate, so children reduce them to "spider" | Adults more accurate |
Reductions smaller units. `exposed' to real life
Deletion of Omitting the opening syllable in polysyllabic "nana" for discourse
unstressed words. "banana"
syllables Berko & Brown
"fis" study
One feature of child language acquisition is that children master language by Phonological understanding
making mistakes until they fully acquire the skills. This `trial and error' often precedes the skill.
approach is adopted by some linguists as evidence that learning is taking
place, but as can be seen, phonological development seems to depend on the
physical ability to produce sounds.

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Language Acquisition
Key Terms
Social interaction ­
Developing Lexis interaction with other
language users [generally
Once children can produce sounds effectively they can use these skills to
Positive reinforcement ­
form `real' words that others can recognise. By the first word stage (around
when behaviour is rewarded
12 months) they have usually contracted their sounds to those of their main to encourage this behaviour
language. Initially proto-words have meaning for the child and their carers to continue.
but are less effective with others.…read more

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Language Acquisition
Key Terms
Overextension ­ the word
Developing Meaning used to label something is
`stretched' to include things
that aren't usually part of
that word's meaning.
Stages of Linguistic Development
Underextension ­ the word
used to label something is
1 Labelling Linking words to the objects to which they refer,
`reduced' to include only part
understanding that things can be labelled.
of its normal meaning.
2 Packaging Exploring the labels and to what they can apply.…read more

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Language Acquisition
Key Terms
Free morpheme ­ one that
Grammatical Development can stand alone as an
independent word.
Research has identified a predictable pattern in the acquisition of inflectional Bound morpheme ­ one that
cannot stand alone as an
affixes. Functional words such as determiners and auxiliary verbs also seem
independent word but must
to be acquired in a regular order. be attached to another
morpheme/word.…read more

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Language Acquisition
Key Terms
Egocentric speech ­ the
Developing Pragmatics running discourse style of
speech used by children
where no listener is directly
Pragmatic understanding is important, especially for analysing conversational addressed and the talk is
focussed on the child's
skills in a child.
Remember to consider the following in any discourse involving a child.
Diexis ­ lexical items which
Implicature (what we mean rather than what we say) `point' towards something
and place words in context.…read more

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Language Acquisition
Key Terms
Expansions ­ a development
Child Directed Speech of a child's utterance into a
longer more meaningful
Whenever data contains a discourse where an adult is an active participant, it
Re-cast ­ the commenting
is important to highlight the following areas:
on, extending and rephrasing
of a child's utterance.…read more


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