Essays on language development in children

Or what colours do you like?

Communication and Language Assignment - Children's language development

Maori which is important in New Zealand should also be recognized and valued. For example, I can teach the children the colors in maori words and the children will learn another language which is interesting and give them more sense of the world through asking questions this enables a conversation to start and by using these open ended questions it is a great opportunity for rich social interactions.

The foundation of language would be observing the environment and body language is also a part of social interaction which is a nonverbal communication method.


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For example, infants interacting with sounds, when the infant is sad and hungry or uncomfortable the infant will cry and when the infant is happy and comfortable the infant will smile and laugh. Neumann, Copple and Bredekamp said that "toddlers are able to learn words at a phenomenal rate, provided they are in a rich language environment in which adults tell stories, read and talk with them and an environment in which they are able to talk and play with children" p.

Therefore to help toddlers to develop their language skills, teachers can read stories to the children and sing songs, and play with the sounds of languages during mat time to let the children be immersed in their language environments. Through listening to songs children are engaged by "active" listening, such as singing and instrumental music playing Schirrmacher, The children pay attention and listen carefully during musical activities and follow lyrics and responds correctly.

This shows their awareness while listening to songs and musical instruments; they start to recognize the meaning of the words. For example, I can provide some types of music by using a clear voice to talk to children and encourage the children to repeat some simple words. This theory can be used throughout my teaching by providing some symbolic sounds for children, such as "moo" sound for cows or "beep" for cars.

Children need to take risks with language and experiment in order for them to discover how to combine words, phrases and form sentences. Theorists Bates, ; Elman, ; Munakata, assume that, "children make sense of their complex language environments by applying powerful cognitive capacities of a general kind. Lev Vygotsky, created a model of human development which now is called the sociocultural model. He believed that all language development in children is visible in two stages, first children observe the interaction between other people then the behavior develops inside the child and then eventually the child becomes more capability of problem solving independently.

Social interaction language theory is fostered by adults scaffolding with language. When adults talk with a child eventually the child will know how to respond. The social interaction language acquisition theory is believed to be similar to the nativist theory. In conclusion, language helps children to learn and build large numbers of language skills and these language acquisition theories are used in everyday with language.

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I have explained how language is acquired through the behaviorist theory, nativist theory and social interaction language interaction theory and how language is developed and fostered according to each perspective. It is essential for early childhood educators to understand and support language in teaching.

Language defines who we are through accents, expressions, culture and environment. Uni Assignment Essay Samples Education.


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  • Place an essay order Place a dissertation order Place a marking order Order a personal statement. Print Reference This. November All Answers Ltd. Snow interpreted this as a form of primitive communication that is significantly biased as it requires more input from the adult as they implement meaning to the babies verbal communication and non-verbal behaviour, from this perspective the child is an inadequate conversation partner.

    Collins and Schaffer suggested a two-way exchange process that they called visual co-ordination and formats, which refers to when the two individuals focus on some common object. Putting the infants exploration of the environment into a social context in which an infant-object scenario is change to an infant-object-mother scenario Schaffer, Brunner believed these formats consisted of a language acquisition support system LASS concerning himself with the pragmatics and function of language.

    Moerk argued that the LAD of the child consisted of the mother or primary caregiver in that their role was to simplify language breaking it down into more manageable segments of information that can be developed and built upon. As Durkin interprates this language development as a sophisticated extension of meaningful social interactions that the child and caregiver have constructed allowing langauge acquisition. To establish whether or not language is unique to humans a distinction between animal communication and actual animal language is required also a definition of what language consists of is needed to fairly evaluate animal studies that attempt to teach them language.

    Other species have the ability to communicate through vocalisation, bodily odours or bodily posture; although this is a system of communication it is not a language. As human language can be modified by experience and is adaptable whereas non-human communication is quite inflexible and at times can be inaccurate if there are changes to the environment. For example when the honeybee has to fly upwind to its hive it will supply inaccurate information of distances and locations to other members of its species Moffet, A definition of language proposed by Charles Hockett devised a set of criteria consisting of thirteen design features of language.

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    From this list of thirteen Aitchson claimed that ten should be efficient for evaluating purposes. But with further analysis of human language and non-human animal language he proposed that four were unique to humans, which are semanticity the use of symbols to refer to objects and actions. Displacement, the ability to make reference to objects and events in another time or place, for example talking about someone we have met or are going to meet. Creativity also known as productivity, the capacity to combine symbols through a means of production and understanding of novel combinations to create language that has never been pronounced before.

    Finally structure dependence, the understanding of the nature of language and structured chunks such as word order that allows the individual to be creative. So is it possible to teach animals language?


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    • As it is possible that they could have the necessary biological and cognitive capabilities to acquire language but have not needed to do so, but on the other hand it could be that humans are the only species that posses the necessary capabilities for language acquisition. Early attempts to teach animals language by Herman, Richards and Wolz have involved trying to teach two-bottled nosed dolphins Phoenix and Akeakamai artificial language.

      One language was visually based in which the trainers used their arms and legs to form gestures and the second was acoustically based using computer-generated sounds. But this research only ever tested their comprehensive abilities of language and not their ability to produce it. From this research it is clear that to establish whether or not animals can learn language that it is important to examine both the animals comprehensive abilities and their ability to produce language.

      Most studies involved in attempting to teach animals language have used other primates such as chimpanzees as they are highly intelligent and social creatures. It is vital that animals learn the meaning of words and the ability to combine them into an infinite number of sentences to conclude that they have in fact learnt a language. A similar attempt by Hayes in which he attempted to raise a chimpanzee named Viki as a human child and teach her to speak.

      But on a more successful note with additional training she was able to understand more words and more combinations of words. These early attempts to teach chimpanzees to speak and learn language have a fundamental limitation in that chimpanzees are physiologically unable to produce speech using their vocal tracts and was probably the main hindrance to progress.

      From these failures nothing can be concluded about primates abilities to learn language but due to the fact that chimpanzees have good dexterity later attempts to teach them language was based on systems of a type of sign language and using artificially created symbols. But the most famous case of attempting to teach a chimpanzee language is that of Washoe who is a female chimpanzee that was capture in the wild when she was one year old.

      Washoe was then raised as a child in whom she did things such as toilet training, eating, playing and other social activities Gardner and Gardner, , She was taught American Sign Language ASL that is used by people with hearing impairment and as like spoken language it involves words and syntax. It was also argued that when she did not know a sign that she had the ability to create a new one.

      She was also able to answer questions that started with WH-words, which are questions that start with what, where, when or who.

      Stages Language development

      An area of interest whilst investigating whether or not chimpanzees can learn language is that if they successfully learn a language will they then go on to teach their offspring or will the offspring learn language through observing their parents. Premack attempted a different approach in which he trained a chimpanzee named Sarah in a laboratory setting, manipulating small plastic symbols. The symbols could be ordered according to certain rules to create a language called premackese, the advantage of this is that it required much less memory load as the symbols were always in front of Sarah.

      Sarah could produce lexical concepts in which she could create novel strings of symbols this however was only at a low level of substituting one word for another. But she did however create syntactically complex sentences and also showed a level of metalinguistic awareness as she could talk about the language system itself.

      Essay on language development - Words | Bartleby

      This research however has showed that there was little evidence to show that Sarah was actually forming syntactic units by grouping strings of symbols together. Overall Nim learned one hundred and twenty five signs and made over twenty thousand utterances in two years, some of which consisted of two or more signs in combination. In two-word utterances it was noted that there seemed to be a regularity in that the second thing mention was usually a place and that with longer utterances this broke down. Nim was rarely spontaneous with his signing, as his utterances tended to be in reply to his trainers or to do with some type of immediate activity while the rest of his utterances were merely repetitions of signs made by his trainers.

      These early attempts to teach chimpanzees language are limited in value, as they do not tell us whether or not chimpanzees are capable of learning language, if anything they tell us more about their limitations that hinder the learning of language. But strong claims have been made about the performance of a pygmy chimpanzee named Kanzi, as earlier research used the common chimpanzee other studies have suggested that bonobo and pygmy chimpanzees are more intelligent, sociable and are much more natural at communication.

      It has been claimed that Kanzi has made a vital step of acquiring the understanding that symbols are associated with things in the world. Unlike other chimpanzee studies that used formal training by reinforcement with food, provided the correct symbol was presented Kanzi observed his mothers training on the Yerkish system of lexigrams and as a result acquired an understanding of these symbols.

      With the understanding of these symbols Kanzi then started to interact with people in their daily routines and was exposed to English, his comprehension of yerkish and English was then compared to that of young children Savage-Rumbaugh et al, Savage-Rumbaugh argued that critics over estimate the linguistic abilities of children and under estimate the abilities of chimpanzees.

      But Kako argued that Kanzi showed no sign that he possessed word function or the ability to use morphology as he does not seem to modify his language to accommodate for number as we do to form plurals. But despite the arguments for and against Kanzi he is by far the best case for language like-abilities in chimpanzees. Although Kanzi is a pygmy chimpanzee and may possess far better linguistic skills than the common chimpanzee his success could have originated from the fact that he was exposed to language at such a young age Deacon, From these studies it is clear to see that chimpanzees have learnt something but it is not necessarily language although they have learnt to associate names with actions and objects there is more to language than just this.

      Word meaning for example raises many issues as to how we use names and how they are different from association. But this naming is very different to humans as humans also know the meaning to what they are naming, they know that a tree has leaves and roots and what a tree looks like. With this in mind the use of signs by chimpanzees could be equated more to pigeons than that of humans. For psycholinguists to concur that primates use words like us then these primates would have to learn that names refer to objects that can be carried across contexts and that they have the same understanding of word meaning as we do.

      Despite the achievements of Kanzi there is no empirical research that can answer these questions as of yet. For example Nim could sign apple or banana if they were in front of him one at a time but when the fruits were placed together he could not respond correctly, suggesting that he did not understanding the meaning of the signs in the way that we do.

      In conclusion although chimpanzees have learnt the association of symbols to the world it is still debatable whether or not chimpanzees have learnt the meaning of symbols in the way that we know the meaning of words. In that it is nothing more than a sophisticated version of conditioning and does not show the creativity of word-ordering rules.

      As humans we can have a finite number of grammatical rules and words but can combine them to form an infinite number of sentences Chomsky, The way in which we evaluate the performance of the chimpanzee language acquisition is with that of children but the problem with this is that it is unclear as to what age group of children the chimpanzees should be compared to. Even though the cognitive abilities of chimpanzees and young children are not so different their linguistic abilities are, suggesting that language processes are independent of cognitive process.

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