English Language Revision.



Skinner.- Argued that children learn language based on behaviorist reinforcement principles by associating words with meanings. Correct utterances are positively reinforced when the child realizes the communicative value of words and phrases.

Piaget.- According to Piaget's theory, all children develop cognitive abilities such as language in four stages: Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational, Formal Operational.

Vygotsky.-Psychologist Lev Vygotsky believed that children's sociocultural environment plays an important role in how they develop cognitively. In Vygotsky's view, the acquisition of language is a crucial part of cognitive development

Tomasello.- Argues that children come to the process of language acquisition, at around one year of age, equipped with two sets of cognitive skills, both evolved for other, more general functions. 

Chomsky.- Argues that a hypothetical tool in the brain helps children to quickly learn and understand language. LAD = Language Acquisition Device.

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Stages of Child Language Development.

The Prelinguistic stage.- Such as 'Mamamama'.

The Holophrase or One-Word sentence.- Such as 'Dada'.

The Two-Word sentence.- Such as 'Doggy big'.

Multiple-Word sentences.- Such as 'I catched it'.

More complex grammatical structures.- Such as 'Take me to the shop'.

Adult-like language structures.- Such as 'He promised to help her'.

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Groups of sounds ordered developmentally.

Early 8: By age 3 years.

  • M, b, j (y), n, w, d, p, h.

Middle 8: By age 4-5.

  • T, ng, k, g, f, v, ch, j, dz.

Late 8: Age 6.

  • Sh, Th, s, z, l, r, zh.

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Phonological Simplification.

Substitution.- The process of swapping one sound for another.

Assimilation.- One consonant or vowel is swapped for another.

Deletion.- Omitting a particular sound within a word.

Consonant Cluster Reductions.- Reducing phonologically more complex units into simpler ones.

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Phonological Simplification Continued.

  1. Plosives appear earlier than Fricatives.

  2. Articulatory Ease/ Perceptual Discriminability.

  3. Reduplicated words, such as ‘Moo Moo’ for cow.

  4. Caregivers use diminutives, adding ‘ie’ to make reduce the scale of the object, adding a suffix, phonologically easier and appealing.

  5. Process of phonological simplification.

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Caregiver and Child interactions.

Extract 1:
C: who did you go with

A: um with Richard and a (.) those (.) and um (.) we have a nice time with Richard and Sa um no Sarah there

C: were they

A: no Sarah there

C: was she

A: no

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Caregiver and Child interactions 2.

Extract 2:
C: did you go to the beach

A: yes

C: yes (.) what was it like

A: um cloudy [unclear]

C: was it cloudy

A: no cold

C: ah cold

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Caregiver and Child interactions 3.

Extract 3:
C: what do you do if it’s too hot

A: blow it

C: you blow it

A: wake up Danny up

C: go on then…

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Bound Morph.- A morph that can't stand alone as a word.

Free Morph.- A morph that can stand alone as a word.


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Roger Brown.- Theorist.

Roger Brown 1973

Five Stages of development that focused on a child’s grammatical development in terms of morphology and syntax.

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Ursula Belugi 1.

Ursula Bellugi 1971

Three Stages of Pronoun Acquisition


Stage 1 – name used rather than pronoun.

Stage 2 – can tell the difference between I left him and he left me (object/subject/pronoun order)

Stage 3 – Correct application of subject and object pronouns

I love you Thomas

You love me Mummy

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Ursula Belugi 2.

Ursula Bellugi 1966

Negative Acquisition

Stage 1

Negative word at beginning

Stage 2  

Negative word moves about

Stage 3

Child masters auxiliary and copula verbs

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Ursula Belugi 3.

Ursula Bellugi 1966

Question Acquisition


Stage 1

Rising intonation mimicked – first single words then multiple words.

Stage 2

Inversion of auxiliary verbs

Stage 3

Formulaic ‘wh’ question words with auxiliaries

Stage 4

Using tag questions  


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Verb Types.

Copula verb.– Verb that joins a subject to an adjective.

Auxiliary verbs.– Helper verbs for main verb.

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