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Language Acquisition

Developing speech, reading and writing

Sarah Smith

on 26 April 2010

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Transcript of Language Acquisition

Language Acquisition Developing Reading
Developing Writing Developing Speech Children have to learn
Create phonemes & phonemic combos (phonetics)
Use vocab & understand meaning (lexis/semantics)
Sentence construction, change formation class (syntax/ morphology)
Use prosodic features: pitch, loudness, speed, intonation to create meaning (phonology)
To structure interactions (discourse)
Subtleties of speech- politeness and implication, irony (pragmatics)
Stages! Vegetative






Post-telegraphic Sounds of discomfort/ reflexive actions Comfort sounds/ vocal play- open-mouthed vowel sounds Repeated patterns of consonant and vowel sounds word-like vocalisations, used for same meaning as
words: (scribble talk) - mm to mean 'give me that' one-word utterances two-word combinations three and more words combined more grammatically complex combinations 0-4 m
4-7 m 6-12 m 9-12 m 12-18 m 18-24 m 24-36m 36+m Learning of the sound system Lexical, semantic and grammatical development Interaction importance and Communication skills Theories of Acquisition & role in understanding how children acquire language Use vocal cords- get attention, basic survival & emotional needs Cooing, babbling stage: start prosodic features
Pitch/ tone encode meaning Pragmatic development: prosody important- social interaction Early development allow child: increase variety of sounds produced: (phonemic expansion) & then reduce sounds to only those they need for own language: (phonemic contraction) crying, coughing, burping, sucking grunts and sighs become vowel like 'coos'/ laughter/hard c&v produce/pitch (squeals/growls) and loudness (yells) sounds linking to own lang/ reduplicated sounds 'ba-ba'/ non-reduplicated (variegated) 'agu' SOUNDS Produced by air from lungs moving over vocal cords
manner of articulation

place of articulation

sound voiced/unvoiced control airstream lips, tongue, teeth, roof of mouth vibrate/not vocal cords TYPES Plosives





Laterals airflow blocked/ stop c airflow partially blocked plosive + fricative sim to vowels tongue on ridge of teeth and
air down side of mouth Voiced Unvoiced p,t,k b,d,g f,t (thigh), s, s(ship),h v, th (thy), v, jz (leisure) ts (church) dz (judge) w,r j air through nose m,n,ng l Early Phon errors Deletion





Consonant Cluster

Deletion- unstressed syllables Omitt final c one sound for another - espec hard sounds extra v sound to end of word, CVCV one c/ v for another: e.g. early plosives repeat whole syllable reduced to sing. units omitt opening syllable in polysyllabic words do(g), cu(p) 'pip' for 'ship e.g. doggie 'gog' for 'dog' dada, mama 'pider' for spider 'nana' banana Lexis/semantics Now start to form words
-12 months proto-words (meaning limited caregiver-child)
12 m = 50 words
24 m = 200 "
36 m = 2,000 words Holoprhases - one word: meaning sentence conveyed Categorising words Meanings GRAMMAR Holophrastic Two-word Telegraphic Post-telegraphic Pragmatics Katherine Nelson (1973)
1. Naming
2. Actions/events
3. descrbing/modifying
4. personal/social (Prop/conc nouns) content words- nouns, verbs, adj.

function words- determiners, prepositions & aux verbs
(grammatical rather than a semantic function)
Overextension: word used to refer to sev diff but related things: cat for all 4 legged creatures

1. Categorical: name for 1 member of a category extended to all members of that cata.
2. Analogical: physical/ functional relation (ball for round fruit)
Aitchison:Three other developments 1 Labelling
2 Packaging
3 Network Building links sound to object- (chair point to chair) range of meaning (bottle diff shapes and sizes yet same function) connections- words have opposites and synonyms understanding of hyponymy-
hypernms and hyponyms Syntax Morphology order words in phrases and clauses
diff utterances: simp/c/complex
functions: declarative- interrogative and imperative inflections- tense, possession, plurals (inflectional morph) affixation, convert word class (drivational morph) MLU- indiv morphemes 12-18 m 18-24 24-36 36+ sub + verb Verb + obj s + V + O S+V+C S+V+adverbial instead of runned - ran
ireeg verb Mainly nouns
Behave like short utterance
Syntactical develop Roger Brown 1970s
- agent+ action
-angent+ affected
-entity+ attribute
-action+ affected
-action+ location
-entity+ location
-possessor + possession
-negation telegram utterances- lack function words
verb inflections, auxiliary verbs, prepositions, determiners Questions: a)1/ 2 word stage-rising intonation
b) Add 'w' word (what, where, why, when)
c) inversion of subject and copula verb involve changing word order + aux Negatives Bellugi a) places 'no' in front of utterance
b) moves 'no'/ 'not' inside sentence
c) attaches the neg to aux verbs and the copula verb 'be' securely Pronouns Ursula Bellugi a) child uses own name (Tom play)
b) child recognises I/me pronouns and that these used in diff places in sentence
c) child uses them according to s/o position (i play with the toy) (give it to me) Determiners articles (a, the), numerals (one), possesives (my)
quantifiers (some, many), demonstratives (this). Remaing function words acquired/correctly used - combine clause structures by using coordinating conjunctions (and, but) and
subordinating conjunctions (because, although) = compound/complex utterance.

-manipulate verb aspects more accurately e.g. use passive tense

-construct longer noun phrases (the two big red buses)
Morphological Development free & bound (can't stand alone) -present tense progressive: -ing
-prepositions: in, on
-plural: -s
-past tense irregular: run/ran
-possessive: 's
-Uncontractible copula: is,was
-articles: the,a
-past tense regular: -ed
-third person regular: runs
-third person irregular: has
-uncontractible auxiliary verb: they were running
-contractible copula: she's
-contractible auxiliary: she's running
Virtuous error
- child shows understanding of grammatical rule however not
aware of irregularity
- clever to have worked out that most verbs end with 'ed'
ending -implicature (what we mean to say)
-inference (interpreting others)
-politeness (right words/phrases)
-conversational maxims, turn-taking Halliday states the early language of a child has 7 functions:
-Instrumental (to get something) 'want milk'
-Regulatory (make requests/ give orders) 'pick up'
-Interactional (relate to others) Nice Mummy
-Personal (identity, views and feelings) 'naughty doggy'
-Heuristic (learn about environment) wassat?
-Imaginative (create an imaginary world)
-Representational (convey information) 'it hot' When examining data ask the following:
1. Who participates?
2. Relationship between speakers?
3. Setting?
4. Developmental stage of child?
5. Other factors that might affect the data?- cultural influences, social experience non standard form of speech used parent to child: child directed speech (CDS) characeristics: a) reduplication
b) addition
c) deletion
d) substitution Parents:
-a higher pitch
-child's name rather than pronouns
-present tense
-1 word utterances / short eliptical sentences
-fewer verbs/modifiers
-concrete nouns
-yes/no questioning
-exaggerated pausing giving turn-taking cues This alone cannot explain a child's acquisition of the language Language Debates Started with nature (learn from others) v nurture (innate) stance in the 1950/60s -
B. F. Skinner and Noam Chomsky
Jean Piaget- cognitive approach-linking thought and language development AGAINST FOR -Experience same stages development same time
-Resist correction
-Understand the presence of grammatical rules
-Produced correct language surrounded by 'impoverished'

-'wug' test suggests children apply grammar rules -stop overgeneralising & use language correctly
-need input for skills such as pragmatics
-children deprived of contact can't achieve fluency

-feral children support the 'critical period' hypothesis
(Eric Lenneburg '67) first 5 yrs for Against -imitate accent and dialect
-learn politeness and pragmatics
-repeat language they have heard around
them and incorporate it into theirs. -form sentences never heard before
-speak correctly around impoverished language
-do not respond to correction
-aren't negatively reinforced for lang use
-aren't corrected by parents for incorrect grammar
-corrections might slow down development
-imitate but don't nec. understand meaning

-'fis phenomenon: can hear correct but can't imitate
-research: rats, pigeons, not humans For against -routine/rituals seem to teach children about spoken discourse such
as turn-taking
- pragmatic development suggests children do learn politeness
-role-play suggests interaction with parents can affect vocab -Children from cultures that don't interact with children
still become articulate and fluent (Samoa) -Halliday's research: functions of language FOR AGAINST -Can't grapst aspects of lang till ready
-Produce utterances which increase in complexity

-Brown's morphemes
-Bellugi's stages for pronoun and qu. formation - children with cog. difficulties still manage to use lang beyond understanding
-acquire lang without having an understanding of it

-'fis' phenomenon- suggests childs cog understanding can be present but physical dev. impacts on ability to use lang.
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