Language skills development

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All children are unique when it comes to their language development. Children progress at different stages, over a period of time.

They are also difficult to study, as their language contains many inconsistencies and maybe ambiguous in its meaning. How do we know whether a child has understood what we are asking? Do they understand but are unable to respond because they simple don’t know? There is evidence of a time lag between children’s understanding and the production of their own language. By looking at “Danny and his mum” I aim to look at language skills in a child aged 2. Then move on to look at his problems and developments, as he gets older to the age of 2 1/4.

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At the age of 2, Danny is able to use holophrases, one-word sentences to make a response.”go”Danny shows that he understands the final question his mum asks him by giving the correct adjective.”green”Danny is able to take turns in the conversation with his mum showing conversational skills. In almost all of the examples Danny is coherent.

He answers the questions his mum asks him with an appropriate answer. In B8, however, his mum asks him an advanced question”What do you think he’s putting water on the road for?”Separating the What and For is difficult to understand so he picks out something he can name,”piggy”.He may have understood the question but have been unable to answer it because of a lack of lexis.Most of the conversations between Danny and his mum start by a question, mainly from his mother at this stage.

She uses “wh” questions such as what, to get a response. In B7 Danny’s mum uses a 3-part question. The question is long, complex and vague.”What do you think it’s doing if its got brushes on the car?”She uses the pronoun “it” in this sentence.

We can see that Danny has not developed the grammar to understand this fully, as his mum has to use a simpler sentence without pronouns to get a response.”What do you do with brushes?”Danny does know something about grammar as he uses the suffix “s” on a non-count noun.”traffics”Danny has a problem with the endings on nouns. He is aware of them but has trouble saying them.

He is aware of the suffix “s” but uses it incorrectly at the age of 2.The meaning”traffics”is ambiguous, does Danny mean traffic lights? But doesn’t have the correct lexis or is it a grammatical error? This is something that he will start to develop as he gets older and becomes a more experienced conversationalist.In B8 Danny’s mum corrects him, she includes an “ing” ending and Danny fails to recognise this so he repeats what he already knows.”splash piggy”Danny is going through a telegraphic stage as he misses words out such as ‘the’ for example,”splash piggy” should be “splash the piggy”.

Danny is able to use 3 different holophrases in a conversation including a noun, verb and adjective showing development,”traffics”, “go” and “green”.In B5 Danny can now make a 7-word sentence,”fall out that man the man // down.”It appears that Danny corrects himself as he repeats himself. He changes from the demonstrative pronoun”that”to another demonstrative pronoun”the”.

He is also able to use the common noun”man”.This shows that Danny’s grammar is developing.This is his longest sentence so far, and he has included a verb. However Danny has problems with the tense,”fall out”instead of”fallen out”.

This shows that Danny is still in the ‘here and now’ phrase of language. He only describes things he can see in front of him, as tenses usually develop after this phrase.Danny shows inconsistency in his language because after his 3-part sentence using a verb, adverbial and subject he goes back to holophrases,”tractor”.However, as his language develops Danny starts to use different sorts of phrases including subject, verb, and adverbial phrases,”Becca / draw/ on there”.

Danny shows here that he is having difficulties with his tenses”draw” should be “drew”.This sentence is nearly perfect and shows a positive development of his language.Danny’s skills in language include pronunciation skills. Danny manages to pronounce consonant clusters including”statue” and “tractor”.

In some examples he stutters, he stutters while trying to find the right lexis or phrase.”Look (.) He went (winter) (.) (winterz)”.

This sentence does show development as Danny uses the past tense “went”.The biggest word Danny is able to use at this stage is”vintage”a 2-syllable word, which is quite, advanced lexis. In B10 Danny stutters and makes a false start, maybe because his mum confuses him. It appears he has confidence to talk and explain what he means showing development.

“Daddy sit er er Danny sit (.)”In this sentence Danny uses the filler”er”showing a clear development of language, as fillers are features of speech. Danny’s best sentence at the age of 2 is”Look there’s one”He uses deixis as he is referring to something his mum has said, therefore, breaking out of the here and now phrase. He uses a pronoun and gets the word order correct in this sentence.

He is now showing he can use different sentence starters as he uses an imperative statement. Danny tries to correct his mother but gets the word order wrong, however, he manages the ending “ing” and the suffix “s””sitting” and “that’s mummy’s”,in his grammar and also uses a double negative,”no not”.It is clear that Danny’s language is developing by B10 as Danny’s turns are much longer and clearer. This demonstrates that Danny’s grammatical skills are developing alongside his other language skills.

By the age of 2 1/4 Danny’s language has developed quickly. He is clearer in his meaning and he has a wider vocabulary. He corrects himself” I do (.) I doing this all day look (.

)”Adding the correct ending to form a simple sentence that his mum understands. He does miss”am” or “I’m”.At 2 1/4 he starts to use conjunctions such as,”when” and “and”in his sentences showing development. In language, conjunctions mean longer speech turns and longer sentences, thus leading to a development in vocabulary.

When turns get longer conversation skills start to develop more. Danny now speaks for longer using 7 or more words in a single sentence / turn. He is putting together simple sentences with 3 parts including more vocabulary and conjunctions for example,”no I don’t want (.) I want to go (.

) when get bigger / want to go / on my own/ a watchett.”Danny can also use a new suffix ending “er” for example,”bigger”showing a positive development.Danny can make Ellison’s such as”don’t” and “it’s”and include them in his speech showing development.Danny is clearly a much better conversationalist at 2 1/4 he now starts topics of conversation,”I got a library book”.

He has started to chat to his mum not just answer her questions. By 2 1/4 Danny is out of the here and now phrase and skills are improving. However, his speech still includes a few ellipses”doing like this all day.”and word order problems the above should be something like this,”I like doing this all day.

“.Danny’s mum helps Danny by encouraging him with questions particularly “wh” questions in stage B. She sometimes struggles to speak on Danny’s level or at least one that he understands fully, however, she is successful in getting a response from him.”What’s he lifting? What’s the crane lifting up?”In some examples she uses tag questions”isn’t it”showing that she is encouraging him to respond.

Danny’s mum does correct Danny’s mistakes in some examples”Splashing the piggy (.)”.However, Danny does not always respond by repeating his mother.”splash piggy”.

Danny’s mum’s main input to his language is her talking to him and making him understand by questioning and encouraging him to respond.Danny’s biggest language development from being 2 to 2 1/4 is his use of conjunctions. These have encouraged a wider vocabulary / lexis and have moved Danny away from the holophrases he used and the here and now phrase that he was in when he was 2. Danny’s language will continue to develop over time and he will learn more about grammar, sentence structures and vocabulary to help him communicate with the rest of the world.

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