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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Essay on language development

Language is a tool that modern man uses to communicate and share thoughts and ideas. It is also a medium by which a person expresses his feelings. For this reason, how a child is able to learn language and how he proceeds from learning simple words to complex sentences is an area which is often the subject of research.

Language development starts from cooing and babbling which proceeds to use of single words until the child learn learns to speak in complex sentences. One of the theories about language is that language recognition is innate to us. According to Linguist Noam Chomsky, humans have a biological predisposition to develop language. This means that it is within a child’s genes to learn and to acquire language and that we are all endowed with a capacity to learn language.

However, there are psychologists who disagree with Chomsky. They believe that Chomsky’s theory disregards the importance of learning in language development. They say that language does not simply develop because of innate predisposition to learn language. Rather, language is slowly developed from simple cooing and babbling to simple words until complex sentences.

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Language development starts from simple imitation where the child imitates what the parents say to their child. Engaging the child in an interaction by conversing with them also helps in the child’s language development. Some parents also use rewards such as giving the child what he wants after he is able to speak a certain word. When parents hear errors in the child’s language they are also corrected. It is the parental effort to slowly teach the child to speak that helps in the development of language. Thus, for many psychologists, a child’s use of language is a reflection of his readiness to interact socially with his parents using words and sentences.

There are different strategies in which the parents help in the infant’s development. Parents teach language by first getting the attention of their infant. This is done through simple games, touching, vocalizing, and smiling. While this process is happening parents usually interact with the infant by conversing with them. The process of interacting with the child even if the infant only smiles is already the first stage of real communication between the parent and the child. In fact, according to psychologists, the more an infant interacts with his parents the faster he will learn to talk.

In communicating with the infant, parents usually engage in motherese or parentese to help the infant learn language faster. This is when the parents use an exaggerated pattern of speaking, by raising their voice and repeating the words, when they are interacting with the child.

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