Developing speech


Lexical + Grammatical stages of development


Holophrastic stage (12-18 months): one word utterances

Two word stage (18-24 months): two word utterances

Telegraphic stage (24-36 months): three or more words

Post-telegraphic stage (36+ months): complex combinations

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Phonological mistakes

Deletion: Deleting the final consonant of words. example: "do(g)", "cu(p)"

Substitution: Substituting one sound for another. example: "pip" for "ship"

Addition: Adding extra vowels to the end of words. example: "doggie"

Assimilation: Changing one consonant or vowel for another. example: "gog" for "dog"

Reduplication: Repeating a whole syllable. example: "dada"

Consonant cluster reductions: Consonant clusters are reduced to smaller units. example: "pider for "spider"

Deletion of unstressed syllables: Omitting opening syllable in polysyllabic words. example: "nana for "banana"

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Developing meanings

Overextension: when children use a word to include things similar that aren't normally part of the words meaning. example: using "tree" to categorise every plant.

Underextension: when children reduce a word to include only part of its normal meaning. example: using "cat" to only categorise a single ginger cat in the neighbourhood.

Jean Aitchison - connecting children's lexical and semantic development in stages

Stage 1 Labelling: Linking words to objects to which they refer.

Stage 2 Packaging: Exploring labels and to what they can apply to

Stage 3 Network-building: Making connections between words and understanding similarities and opposites in meanings

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Piaget's stages of linguistic development

Sensorimotor (up to 2 years): The child experiences the world through their senses and begins to classify things. If made, lexical choices are concrete rather than abstract. Object permanence develops (the concept that objects exist when out of sight).

Pre-operational (2-7 years): Language and motor skills develop. Language is egocentric; it is focused on the child or used by the child when no-one else is around

Concrete operational (7-11 years): Children begin to think logically about concrete events

Formal operational (11+) Abstract reasoning skills develop

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Developing grammar

Syntactical advances allow children to order words into phrases and clauses and make different types of utterances.

Morphological advances allow children to add inflections to words creating tense, and experiment with language adding prefixes and suffixes.

Holophrastic stage: No grammatical construction

Two-word stage: Subject + Verb, Verb + Object

Telegraphic stage: Subject + Verb + Object, Subject + Verb + Complement, Subject + Verb + Adverbial

Post-telegraphic: Increased awareness of grammatical rules, i.e instead of saying "runned", uses "ran".

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Negative formation + Virtuous errors

Ursula Bellugi - 3 stages of negative formation:

Stage 1: Uses "no(t)" at beginning or end of the sentence. example: "no wear shoes"

Stage 2: Moves "no(t)" inside the sentence. example: "I no want it"

Stage 3: Attaches negative correctly to auxiliary verbs. example: "no I don't want to go to nursery", "I am not"

Virtuous errors: When children make errors such as "runned" instead of "ran", as they have worked out that most past tense verbs end with the "-ed" inflection, and have therefore applied it. Although a logical choice, it is incorrect.

Overgeneralisation: A child extending a words meaning or grammatical rule beyond its normal use (as in with the above example using the "-ed" inflection)

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Michael Halliday

Functions of speech

Instrumental: Used to fulfill a need. example: "want milk"

Regulatory: Influences behaviour of others. example: "pick up"

Interactional: Used to develop and maintain social relationships. example: "love you"

Personal: Conveys opinions and personal identity. example: "me like Charlie"

Representational: Conveys facts and information. example: "it's hot"

Imaginative: Creates an imaginary world/play. example: "me superman"

Heuristic: Used to learn about the environment. example "wassat?"

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John Dore

Language functions

Labelling: To name something

Repeating: Repeating an adult's word or utterance

Answering: Responding to someone's utterance

Requesting action: Asking for something done for them

Calling: Getting attention by shouting

Greeting: Greeting someone or something

Protesting: Objecting to requests from others

Practising: Using language when no adult is present

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Role of parents/care-givers

Child-directed speech (CDS): Any speech pattern used by parents or care givers when communicating with young children, particularly infants, usually involving simplified vocabulary, melodic pitch, repetitive questioning, and a slow or deliberate tempo.

Features of CDS:

  • Repetition
  • Higher pitch
  • Child's name rather than pronouns
  • Present tense
  • One-word utterances
  • Concrete nouns
  • Yes/no questioning
  • Exaggerated pauses to emphasise turn-taking
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Language acquisition theories

Nativist: (Key theorists - Noam Chomsky, B.F Skinner)

Humans have an inbuilt capacity to acquire language through their Language Acquisition Device (LAD). The LAD is a language organ that is hardwired into our brains at birth, and because of this, we are born with the ability to understand and develop language.

Behaviourist: (Key theorists - B.F Skinner)

Language is acquired through imitation (modelling) and reinforcement (positive and negative). Correct utterances are positively reinforced, enhancing the child's language development.

Social Interactionist: (Key theorists - Jerome Burner, Lev Vygotsky)

The child's language is developed through interactions with adults

Cognitive: (Key theorists - Jean Piaget)

Language acquisition is part of a wider development of understanding. Language is dependent on knowledge and understanding that is acquired through cognitive development

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