Child Language Development Edexcel Unit 3

  • Created by: lukecox13
  • Created on: 16-06-15 15:13

Nativist approach - Chomsky

 Language Acquisition Device

  • Children born with innate capacity for language development
  • The human brain is hard wired to acquire grammatical structures
  • Human languages share many basic similarities, which he calls Universal Grammar
  • Children often experience the same stages of development 


  • Children who have been deprived of social contact often cannot achieve communicative competence e.g. Feral Children
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Cognitive approach - Piaget

Linking language acquision directly to intellectual development.

  • Only use lingustic structures when they understand the concept involved.
  • Coud be used to describe lexis development.


  • Children can imitate language without having understanding of the meaning.
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Interactionalist approach - Brunner

Language Acquisition Support System (LASS)

  • Gaining attention
  • Querying
  • Labelling
  • Feedback

Child Directed Speech

  • Vocabulary simplified into broad categories
  • Sentence structures are shorter
  • Tag questions to invite participation
  • Repetition reinforces new words
  • Higher pitch

Vygotsky - Developing language with interaction with any MKO.

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Behaviourist approach - Skinner

Language is acquired through imitation and reinforcement

  • Can explain phonology as children imitate accent and dialect,
  • Can explain pragmatics as children learn politeness strategies


  • Children produce sentences they have never heard before - overgeneralisation
  •  Do not always seem to repsond to correction
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Jean Aitchison

Stages for liguistic development

  • Labelling - linking words to objects
  • Packaging - exploring the labels and to what they can apply (over/underetension happens at this stage)
  • Network-building - making connections between words and understanding similarities and opposites in meanings. Hypernym and Hyponym.
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Berko - Wugs

  • provided evidence for the belief that children overgeneralise as well as having an innate understanding of language.
  • "this is a wug. Now there is another one. There are two of them. There are two____."
  • Three-quarters of 4-5 year olds surveyed formed the regular plural 'Wugs'.
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Brown - grammatical development

1) -ing

2) plural s

3) possessive -'s

4) The, a determiners

5) past tense -ed

6) third person singular verb ending -s

7) auxiliary 'be'

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Common Spoken Errors

Overgeneralisation - Over apply grammatical rule e.g 'runned'

Undergeneralisation - Under apply grammatical rule

Overextension - Words given broader meaning e.g. 'Daddy' to all men

Underextension - Words given narrower meaning e.g. 'Dog' to only family dog

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Key terminology - Spoken

Consonant clusters - Combernation of consonant phonemes in a row e.g Cluster

Critical period (Lenneburg) - Children have a certain window to aquire language

Conversion - Using a noun as a verb

Deletion - simplification through deletion of certain phonemes

Substitution - simplification through substituting phonemes for easier ones

Present participles - continuous -ing verbs eg. running

Past participle - past tense -ed verb eg. jumped 

Subordinate - clauses that make no sense on their own e.g that he had seen earlier

Coordiante - makes perfect sense as a seperate sentence e.g it was raining (and, but)

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Key terminology - spoken 2

Virtuous error - Logical error that follows the pattern of language

Poverty of stimulous (Chomsky) - idea that children are not exposed to perfect language

Transitive verb - Require an object eg. i want food

Intrasitive verb - Don't require an object eg. I laughed

Hypernym - Word in which it has many subcategories

Hyponym - Word that is more specific than the hypernym

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Halliday's Functions of language

  • Instrumental - to fufil a need (eg. want juice)
  • Regulatory - to influence the behaviour of others (eg. pick up)
  • Interactional - to build social relationships (eg. Love you)
  • Personal - conveying feelings and opinions (eg. Me like Charlie and Lola)
  • Heuristic - to learn about their environment (eg. what's that?)
  • Imaginative - creating an imaginary world (eg. me mum you dad)
  • Representational - facts and information (eg. it cold)
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Barclay's stages of development

  • 1) Scribbling Stage
  • 2) Mock Handwriting Stage
  • 3) Mock Letters
  • 4) Conventional Letters
  • 5) Invented Spelling Stage
  • 6) Appropriate Spelling Stage
  • 7) Correct Spelling Stage
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Kroll's stages of development

  • 1) Preparatary Stage - Motor skills and spelling system
  • 2) Consolidation Stage - Writes as they speak
  • 3) Differentiation Stage - Can beguin to differentiate between spoken and writen language
  • 4) Integration Stage - Develops own personal style and can change depending on context.
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Key terminology - Written

Enviromental print - Children have early understanding of different signs around them

Zone of proximal development (Vygotsky) - the difference between independant and dependant knowledge

digraph - combination of two letters representing one phoneme

phoneme grapheme corespondence - the link between the sound and the letter it is represented by

Phonics - method taught in school of sounding out letters and segmenting and blending

Homonym - a word that is spelt or said the same but has different meanings

Coordinating conjunction - and but or

Subordinating conjunction - because so when... (clauses don't make sense on their own)

Diphthong - a phoneme made by combining two different vowel sound

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IPA symbols

/ə/ Schwa - teacher, about                                                /ɒ/ - hot, spot

/ð/ voiced dental fricative - The, there                              /uː/ - food, shoe

/θ/ voiceless dental fricative - thin, earth                         /eɪ/ - bathe, save

/ʃ/ - shoe, fish

/ŋ/ - running, english

/ʧ/ - church, beach

/d/ Plosive - dat, dog

/iː/ - Seat, me

/æ/ - cat, map

/əʊ/ - Joke, throw

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