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How Children Learn Language

  • Date Submitted: 05/06/2010 03:24 AM
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How children learn language

-By the age of 4 we have the basic vocab., syntax & pronunciaion of our language.
Language learning must be separated into 2 psychological processes : speech production & speech understanding.

-Speech production :
-Vocalization: at 1st babies cry, blow, gurgle, make undescribeable noises. This gets them practice articulation, control of breathing w/ the making of sounds. The next stage is “babbling” a type of vocalization where the child uses speech sounds (vowels & consonant-vowel syllables) eg. papa, mama, gigi… Also, the babies 1st acquire intonation patterns, even b4 producing any words.
-The 1-word utterance: There’s no precise determination of when children start to say the 1st words (may start as early as 4 months, up to 18 months), because there’re great individual differences. However around 3 ys of age the differences disappear. Also its not easy to determine whether a word has been learned or not. There has to be a meaningful use of sounds.
-The uses of a single word: eg. the same word “banana” can be used to name an object,   or for request. Or   to emphasize actions like “bye-bye” accompanied by a wave of the hand when leave taking. Single words can be used to express complex situations (peach, Daddy, spoon -> dad put a piece of peach onto the spoon).
-2 & 3 word utterances: At around 18 months children start to produce them. Tend to express ideas of quantity, possession, negation, attribute. (eg. “More milk”). The purposes may be: request, warning, answer, question refusal, inform, or even bragging. At this stage the child understands much more than (s)he can produce. The utterances mainly consist of Ns, Vs, adjectives   (the content classes),   lacking function words such as articles, prepositions, auxiliaries & modals. Also, there’s a lack of inflections (plurals, verb endings, tense markings etc.). ->telegraphic stage
-Function words & inflections: now the child has something on which to elaborate, acquisition...

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