When we assume that language is nothing more than a means of communicating, then it can be said that language acquisition is nothing more or less than learning how to communicate. Although how children learn to speak is not perfectly understood, most explanations involve both the observation that children copy what they hear. Children usually learn the sounds and vocabulary of their native language through imitation. In this chapter it is briefly seen characteristics of the language of young children. Several theories have been offered as explanation s for how language is learned.
The first three years: Milestones and developmental sequences The earliest vocalizations are simply the crying that babies do when they need something, for example when they are hungry or just need parent’s attention. Infants are able to hear sounds, and to difference some of the sounds, but not before 3-5 months they begin to have own vocalizations for example babbling. At 11-12 months most babies will have begun to produce a word or two that everyone recognizes: mama – dada.
At 18 months old, Language takes off. They can produce two-word utterances (Dolly go bed, Eating cookies).
Sometimes called telegraphic words because they don’t have articles, prepositions or auxiliary verbs. But still we can recognize as sentence. In their first three years, there are predictable patterns in the emergence and the development of many features of the language they are learning. For some language features, these patterns have been described in terms of developmental sequences or stages. For example, children can distinguish between singular and plural long before they reliably add plural ending to nouns, Can distinguish own language from a foreign language, Child can recognize own name.
Grammatical morphemes: Research has shown that children acquire grammatical morphemes in the same order though they do not at the same age or rate. Brown (1973) studied the acquisition of fourteen grammatical morphemes in English and found, for example, that children learned the -ing of the present progressive (jumping) before they learned the plural of nouns; they learned plurals and possessives of nouns before they learned the articles (the, a); and they learned articles before they learned the regular past tense of verbs.
Helping verbs were far down the list. He also found that children learned some irregular past tense forms, like broke and went, before they learned the regular ones. The fact that children apply morphological rules productively can be verified by a test devised by Jean Berko (1958), known as the wug test. In this type of experiment, children are shown pictures that are described using nonsense words, such as the noun wug. A child might be shown a picture of one of these and then be asked to describe a picture with two.
If the child says they are two wugs, then we know he/she has learned the rule for making plurals, since no adult has ever said wugs to the child before. Similarly, the rule for forming the past tense of verbs might be tested by showing a picture of a man blicking and then asking what the man did yesterday. If the child says he blicked, we know a rule is being applied. Negation: Children use negatives in their first years of word learning.
Children use negation to refuse suggestion or reject something. Bloom sowed that even thought child understands the word it takes some time before they can express them in the sentence. According to wood there are 4 stages in the developmental of negation. Stage 1: It consist of one-word negation, ex children using word ‘no’ to express negation No cookie. Stage 2: The negative element don’t is used but not marked for person, number or tense. Don’t touch me!
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