The Characteristics of Language Acquisition and Development

Language ability starts even before birth and happens in every area of the child’s life. A child absorbs the language that is spoken in their environment with characteristics such as the tonal quality, the syntax, and the usages of that language. A child can learn languages which are spoken by their parents. The child absorbs the language that is most prevalent in the environment they live. It is a unique phenomenon in human life and occurs in a significant time p. Language absorption is provided by nature from birth, up until around the ages of four to five.

Early Childhood Language development in the first five years of life is the key for a child’s development of communication and language. In the first five years of life, the language development begins at birth when infants communicate through their cries and the many looks they give. In the next period, infant’s attempts at communication with adults become more deliberate. This period is usually around xix to eighteen months. Infants in this period can coordinate their visual attention with another person regarding objects and events. Their ability to remember comes into play.

Their remembering will consist of recognizing and recall methods. Their quest to further their knowledge will help to facilitate their oral language competencies. Oral language Competencies are directly related to the acquisition of literacy. Children learn new words from hearing them in similar positions as they are used in sentences. They learn their words through direct teaching, parent vocalizations, and other points of interest. They also learn words by associating a word they hear with some concrete reference they can see. Their receptive mode in oral language is listening and their expressive mode in that area is peaking.

Their written language receptive mode is reading and their expressive mode is writing. “Children who are fluent in oral language are more successful learners. ” “Being successful learners in this regard leads to better communication skills, better listeners, and the ability to talk with peers and teachers more effectively. ” (Otto, 2006) In the third period, from 18 months onward, language becomes children’s primary means of learning and communication. Preschoolers can engage in conversations, can use language for self-control and have the capacity to participate verbally.

An infant’s oral competencies are a part of a larger scenario. What children acquire and learn often relates to what they are exposed to in the womb. My grandmother and mother were always big on making sure that they encouraged my sisters and /or their female friends to speak to their unborn children. “Talk to the little one and let him or her know that you are there. ” I firmly believe that my love for music comes from the fact that mother used to tell me that she played music for me the entire time she was pregnant with me. I seriously fell in love with music at around age 2 (by all accounts and photos).

The text tells us that “infants can perceive sounds beginning with the 25t week of gestation. ” (Otto, 2006) This makes it extremely important for expecting parents to talk, sing, read, and provide as many sounds and words as possible. Once babies are born, the text also tells us that “beginning at birth, children are a part of a social environment. It is within this social environment that language development begins. ” (Otto, 2010) “They are also born with predispositions to pay attention to language and people in their environment. ” (Otto, 2006) Children will learn words between 18 months and 6 years of age.

They begin to distinguish specific phonemes as early as 1 month of age. ” (Otto, 2006) They however are still not able to verbally express those distinctions as of yet. An infant will first need to decipher speech sounds that occur within their environment. That’s why it is crucial for parents and/or caregivers to speak, listen, and then respond to whatever their baby is uttering. This will be a kind of reinforcement of developing language patterns. I think this makes me realize the importance of the bonding process that all parents should undertake after birth.

The role of a caregiver should follow later after this process is complete. I think this will play a beneficial role in how an infant will acquire his or her oral competencies. Some of our literature offers us a time table as to when some of these accomplishments will occur. The text tells us that “at six months a child will respond to his or her name. ” “At twelve months, a child uses their words with meaning and intention. ” “The vocabulary increases from that of five to 20 words at 18 months to 150-200 words at two years of age.

“By the age of 4, a child can use at least four prepositions, know names of familiar animals and has mastered one or more colors. ” (Atherton, 2008) This leads us to discuss the various ways in which it could be possible for children to acquire language. There are several perspectives that describe the ways in which children can acquire language skills. “The Learning perspective argues that children imitate what they see and hear; and that children learn from punishment and reinforcement. ”(Shaffer,Wood, & Willoughby, 2002). The first is the Nativist Perspective.

This perspective focuses on the inborn and/or the innate human capabilities as it relates to the acquisition of syntactic language. “Applications provide the opportunity to use and explore language to encourage “hypothesis testing” and activate LAD. ” (Otto, 2006)This would be useful in helping young students develop confidence in questioning the information they acquire. This perspective was researched by Noam Chomsky, who is known for his contributions to the study of linguistics and his influence on the teaching of computer languages and mathematics.

The next perspective is called the Cognitive Development Perspective. The idea of language acquisition; as it described by theorist Jean Piaget, is “acquired as maturation occurs and cognitive competencies develop. ” (Otto, 2006) Implications would dictate that in order to be successful in language acquisition, “learning activities should be developed to match a child’s stage of cognitive development. ” (Otto, 2006) In a classroom setting, this might be a challenging, tedious, but still rewarding endeavor for a teacher.

This idea might find more credence in the arena of special education. The Behaviorist Perspective consists of language being learned through repetitive and supported speech. This is also facilitated by “associations between stimuli, responses, and events following the response. ” (Otto, 2006). Students would benefit greatly from the direct correlation and association of everyday objects, activities, and situations. The implications as researched by B. F. Skinner, “focus on the stimuli and reinforcements that children experience which involve language use. (Otto, 2006)

Children’s communication efforts are also supported as well as language exercises that involve a repetitive nature. The Interactionist Perspective; focused on by theorist Vygotsky, has a direct connection on sociocultural interaction. Its implications provide a positive emotional basis for social interactions. It also offers a “wide range of social interactions in which oral and written language are used in developmentally appropriate activities. ” (Otto, 2006) For those students learning on many levels this would be a significant opportunity to apply those oral and written language skills with everyday interactions.

Out of all the theoretical perspectives listed, I am more impressed with the Interactionist Theoretical Perspective. In my opinion it offers a greater opportunity to apply language acquisition with social interaction opportunities. It also give the child an avenue to be expressive in ways that will benefit them later in their development. these areas might include eye contact with greater confidence, mediation for future conflict resolution, child-directed speech for positive peer relations; and support for questioning. I am always a fan of social interacting building.

References

http://languagedevelopment.tripod.com/id15.html

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