Key seven things to comment on about the child in
Phonetics: i.e. do they misprounounce certain words?
Phonology: do they use prosodic features such as pitch, loudness, speech intonation to convey meaning?
Semantics: What semantic fields does their speech include, are they ever vague and do they make mistakes with over/underextension?
Syntax/morphology: how they construct their sentences, negatives, questions etc? Do they use articles, inflections, modal/auxiliary verbs, pronouns etc correctly?
Discourse: how do they structure interactions with others?
Pragmatics: how does the child use the subtlities of speech such as politeness, implication and irony? Do they appear to understand the social expectations of behaviour in conversations, e,g, turn-taking? Do they allow for the roles taken by specific speakers, e.g. child-directed speech?
Functions: which of Halliday's functions are the child using?
David Crystal's Stages of Language Acquisition (1)
0-8 weeks - The Vegetative Stage
- Basic biological noises
- Reflexive noises to show states of hunger, pain and discomfort and including crying and fussing
- Vegetative noises including sucking, swallowing, coughing and burping
- There is nothing language specific about these early noises
8-20 weeks - Cooing and Laughing
- Coos are produced when the baby is settled and become more frequent and varied as the baby begins to respond to smiles and speech
- Later, they are strung together in sequences of about 10 or more
- The first laugh appears at about 4 months
- The tongue becomes more agile
David Crystal's Stages of Language Acquisition (2)
20-30 weeks - Vocal Play
- Steadier than coos
- Range of consonant-vowel sequences (dada, baba)
- Begins to resemble babbled utterances - almost like sentences
25-50 weeks - Babbling
- Reduplicated babbling - repeated consonant & vowel (dadadadadadada)
- Variegated babbling - consonant & vowel change from one syllable to another e.g. abu
- The rhythm of these utterances is close to speech
9-18 months - Melodic Utterances
- Variations in melody, rhythm and tone of voice become a major feature of child utterance
- Individual syllables come to be used with a fixed melody - 'proto-words'
David Crystal's Stages of Language Acquisition (3)
- utterances consist mainly of a single item like 'teddy', 'juice', 'mama'
- They may have a more pragmatic meaning 'i want my teddy'
- Sometimes the consist of two items expressed as one unit, e.g. 'allgone' which is known as a holophrase
- mainly naming immediate environment
- Semantic fields include food, the body, clothes, family and toys
18-24 months -
- Use of stress for emphasis - 'my car'
- more phonemes appear, though words might be quite different from adult speech
- Two word stage
- Speech includes many combinations, e.g. 'teddy gone', 'mummy hat'
David Crystal's Stages of Language Acquisition (4)
- spatial location - up, down, in, out
- Attributes of objects - hot, cold, big, small
2-2½ years - Telegraphic Stage
- Sentences expand to 3 or more elements - the beginnings of the telegraphic speech e.g. 'mummy drive car' using lexical word class (nouns, main verbs, adjectives) more than grammatical (prepositions, articles, conjuctions, pronouns, auxiliary verbs)
- Some grammatical endings start to appear e.g. plurals, present participles -ing and -ed
- Lots of actions - sometimes in the past
- concrete meaning rather than abstract, which refelect child's cognitive development
David Crystal's Stages of Language Acquisition (5)
- Semantic fields centre on familiar, everday objects/events/people which reflect the child's real-life experiences
2½ - 3 years -
- Children start to develop a sense of purpose to their conversations, which can be summarised using Halliday's Functions (see later)
- Continuing stabilisation and development of phonemic and prosodic aspects of speech, though some consonants ('l', 'r' & 'th') still not acquired especially in clusters
- Sentences expand to 4 or more elements
- more words from grammatical category - pronouns, determiners etc
- simple sentences complete
- inflections of verbs and nouns become more consistent
- Use of auxiliar verbs
David Crystal's Stages of Language Acquisition (6)
- Broadening vocabularly
- more abstract ideas and relationships
3½ - 4 years
- continuing development in sophisticated uses of interactional, heuristic and imaginative language function
- Acquisition of complete phonemic system, some subtleties of intonation and stress patterns continue to be aquired with further development and experience
- More consistent use of irregular verb and noun endings, and auxiliar verbs (e.g. in questions and negatives)
- over-generalised forms (e.g. falled) are corrected
David Crystal's Stages of Language Acquisition (7)
After 4½ years -
- Basic grammatical structures in place. Later development will show increasing stylistic versatility and adaptabilit
- Continuing development in ability to use more precise, abstract and varied vocabulary and meanings
Ursula Bellugi's Stages of:
- Stage 1
- The child attaches 'no' or 'not' to either the beginning or the end of the sentence
- Auxiliary verbs are absent as is the main verb 'to be'
- e.g. 'no singing song', 'more no'
- Stage 2
- 'no' or 'not' goes inside the sentence
- continuing absence of the main verb 'to be' but some sentences are quite adult-like
- 'not' seems to be attached to the auxiliary verb and 'do' is added when required
- Stage 3
- Auxiliary verbs appear in affirmative sentences, as well as negative ones
- the verb 'to be' appears more frequently
- Sentences are generally more complex and complete
- e.g. 'i gave him some so he won't cry'
Ursula Bellugi's Stages of:
- Stage 1
- The child adds a 'wh-' form to the beginning or the end of the expression with a rise in intonation towards the end
- Stage 2
- More complex expressions can be formed, but the rising intonation strategy continues to be used. It is noticable than more 'wh-' forms come into use
- Stage 3
- The required inversion of subject and verb in English questions appears but the 'wh-' questions do not always undergo the required
Overextension - broader/wider application of the word e.g. all men are called 'daddy'
Underextension - narrower application e.g. only the family car is called 'car'
Analogical overextension - where something is confused with something else because of a similarity in quality/appearance e.g. a child calls thier grandma's hair 'feathers'
Statements - one word statement not labelling an object but relating to another object
Proto-words - An invented word that has a consistent meaning
Holophrase - A single word expressing a whole idea
First Words - Katherine Nelson (1973) identified four categories for first words:
- Naming (things or people) (e.g. 'mama', 'sock', 'juice')
- Actions/events ('go')
- Describing/modifying things ('more', 'big', 'empty')
- Personal/social words ('hi', 'bye;)
Sounds in English are produced as a result of air from the lungs coming up through the vocal cords and being manipulated in various ways. There are several different phonemes;
- Plosives - p(pip), b(bib), t(ten), d(den), k(cat), g(get)
- Plosives are explosions which are created by obstructing the flow of air by bringing parts of the mouth together, then letting go suddenly
- English plosives are differentiated from each other in two ways: they are made in different places in the mouth and use different amounts of voice
- Fricatives - f(fish), v(van), θ(thigh), ð(thy), s(set), z(zen), ʃ(ship), ʒ(pleasure), h(hen)
- Fricatives involve a lesser obstruction of airflow, as air is forced through in a steady stream, resulting in friction rather than explosives
- Plosives can not be kept going in the way fricatives can
- Fricatives, like plosives, are distingushed from each other by thier place or articulation, and by voice
- Affricates - t ʃ(church) and d ʒ(judge)
- These two constant sounds have double symbols to represent the fact that one is a plosive followed by a fricative
- Nasals - m(man), n(man) and ŋ(sing)
- These phonemes are produced in a particular manner: the air-stream comes out through the nose rather than the mouth
- They differ from each other in being made in different places 'm' is bilabial, 'n' is alveolar and 'ŋ' is velar
- When you have a cold and air cannot escaoe from the nose, nasals become plosives
- Laterals - l(let)
- Sometimes referred to as a 'liquid' sound, and is made by placing the tip of the tongue on the teeth ridge and sending the air down the sides of the mouth
- Approximants - r(ride), w(wet) and j(yet)
- These share the property of being mid-way between consonants and vowels; sometimes called 'semi-vowels'
- They all involve less contant between the organs of speech than many of the other consonants
- Glottal - (ʔ)
- Glottals represent a sound as such - they are the closure of the vocal cords, resulting in shutting of the air-stream, and it is sometimes produced as an alternative to certain plosive sounds
- The glottal stop is a strong feature of some regional accents , e.g. "li'l" instead of "little" and "bo'l" instead of "bottle"
Phonology Key Words
Phonemic expansion - the variety of sounds produced increases
Phonemic contraction - the variety of sounds is reduced to the sounds of the main language used
Vowel - a sound made without closure or audible friction
Dipthong - a vowel in which there is a perceptible change in quality during a syllable
Deletion - often when words end with a consonant, a child will simply miss out the consonant, as in 'ca' for 'cat'. On words with more than one sylabble, the beginning of a word is more likely to be deleted than the end
Deletion of unstressed sylabbles - ommiting the opening syllable in polysyllabic words, for example 'nana' for 'banana'
Consonant cluster reductions - consonant clusters can be difficult to articulate, so children reduce them to smaller units
Substitution - this is where the child actually substitutes one sound for another. e.g. 'cat' may become 'tat'. Often children avoid consonants that involve friction in favour of one involving a stopped sound
Phonology Key Term continued.
Addition - this involves the addition of an extra vowel sound to the end of a word, e.g. 'egg' may become 'eggu'
De-voicing - the process of taking the voice out of consonants such as 'b' to produce 'p'
Voicing - the opposite of above. At the beginning of words children are more likely to voice an unvoiced consonant, e.g. 'pig' become 'bik'
Assimilation - where one consonant or vowel becomes similar to another e.g. 'gog' for 'dog'
Reduplication - This refers to the repetition of a whole syllable, as in 'choo-choo'. This has become a recognised feature of 'baby-talk'
Theories of Language Acquisition
Jerome Bruner's LASS theory (Langauge Aquistion Support System)
- Adults provide opportunities for a child to acquire their mother-tongue by provinding ritualised scenarios - the ceremony of having a bath, eating a meal, getting dressed, or playing a game - in which the phrases of interaction are rapidly recogonised and predicted by the infant
- The utterances of the mother/father are themselves ritualised, and accompany the activity in predictable and comprehensive ways. Gradually, the chold moves from a passive position to an active one, taking over the movements of the caretaker, and eventually, the language aswell.
Theories of Language Acquision (2)
Jean Aitchison - "Language has a biologically organised schedule"
In 1987, Aitchison identified three stages that occur during a child's acquisition of vocabulary:
- Labelling - this stage involves making the link between the sounds of particular words and the objects to which they refer, e.g. understanding that 'mummy' refers to their mother. In other words, this stage is the association of names with things
- Packaging - this entails understanding a word's range of meaning. This is when over-extension and under-extension become a hurdle in the development of the language
- Network building - this involves grasping the connections between words, understanding that some words are opposite in meaning. Aitchison argued that there are no exact dates to which a child reaches a certain stage of language learning - some children learn faster than others. She believed that the speed of learning is influenced by both innate abilities and environment. Language is partly learned by imitation, so parents and siblings play a role in the acceleration of learning language.
Theorists of Language Acquisition (3)
Noam Chomsky - The Language Acquistion Device (LAD)
- Chomsky believed that learning takes place through an innate brain mechanism, pre-programmed with the ability to acquire grammatical structures. He callls this mechanism the LAD
- He also thought it significant that human languages, although they might seem different, share many similarities in lexis and phonology, which he describes as universal grammar
- This is supported by the evidence that children from all around the world develop at a similar rate in similar stages of development. That all children can acquire complex grammars by an early age, regardless of their environment or intelligence, points to an innate learning device - although the actual nature of this has never been pinpointed
Theorists of Language Acquistion (4)
Piaget's Stages of Children's Linguistic Development
- 20th century swiss psychologist Jean Piaget emphasised that children are active learners who use their environment and social interactions to shape thier language
- Piaget linked linguistic development with an understanding of the concpets surrounding the word's meaning, suggesting that children cannot be taught before the are ready
- Sensor/motor (up to 2 years) - the child experiences the physical world through the sense and begins classifying the things in it; lexical choices, when they appear, tend to be concrete rather than abstract
- Pre-operational (2-7 years) - language and motor skills develop and become more competent. Language is egocentric - either 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+ years) - abstract reasoning skills develop
Vocative - a form (especially a noun) used to address a person
Content word - a type of wprd that has an independent 'dictionary' meaning, also called a lexical word
Function word - a word whose role is largely or wholly to express a grammatical relationship
Social interactionalists - those who believe that child language develops through interaction with carers
Positive reinforcement - when behaviour is rewarded, including verbal praise to encourage this behaviour to be repeated
Negative reinforcement - when an undesirable behaviour is unrewarded with the intention that it will no be repeated
Behaviourists - those who believe that language is acquired through imitation and reinforcement