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Early Language and Development Essay

Language is a complex and abstract endeavor, wonderfully creative at the same time governed by a multitude of rules. Before the age of 1 year, babies communicate with intent, primarily through the use of body orientation, facial expressions, gestures, and nonsymbolic vocalizations that mimic the intonations of their native language. At the end of the first year, however, many babies are beginning to use word approximations, consistent combinations of sounds as a transition to language, a symbolic system of communication.

During the toddler years, language development is focused on semantics, or the meaning of words, and on syntax the rules of grammar for the language. (Slentz, et al. , 2001) Early language developments are crucial stage to one’s life. Baby’s language are through actions, and it could mean various meaning. Babies can’t speak yet, but they have their own ways to let us know how they feel. From the beginning, a mother and baby can be seen attuning to each other.

They copy each other’s movements and expressions with mutual relaxed smiles, and later with laughing delight. (Clulow, et al. , 1993) Attunement is an essential factor for speech and language in general. According to John Bowlby (1980) early month – infant bonding and attachment are crucial to early language and development, thus it should be given importance by the mother to her baby as soon the baby was born. It is also noted that our feelings are easier to convey or communicated with infants.

For an instance, baby cries when he hears another baby crying or when a mother the mother is angry while holding the baby, the baby becomes fussy. (Klein, 1987) Moreover, at an early stage, the mother’s speech affirms and responds to the infant’s eagerness to become involved in “proto-conversation”, a non – verbal form of discourse. Speech engages attention, communicates feelings, and facilitates social interaction as well as facilitating language acquisition. (Clulow, et al.

, 1993) If a mother cannot attune to her baby’s rhythm then, as a result the baby will become distressed. This in turn stresses his mother, usually upsetting more, so that a vicious circle is likely. From birth onwards, children can be regarded as active participants in interaction. As for intentionality, young children develop along a continuum, in which they gradually learn to use more sophisticated and conventional means to communicate and also demonstrate increasing competence in intentionally conveying meanings to their interactive partners.

The most common communicative functions of early intentional communicative acts have been found to be requests for objects/actions and comments on objects/actions (Paavola et al. ,2005) A mother’s ability to monitor her child’s visual attention and exhibition of a vocal or an exploratory act and then to respond promptly, contingently and appropriately is usually referred to as responsiveness.

There is a lot of evidence for the supporting role of maternal responsiveness in child language development However; the efficacy of maternal responsiveness may not be global. Instead, it has been suggested that certain aspects of responsiveness are more predictive than others to particular language outcomes in the child. Furthermore, it is possible that children differ in their needs to be guided and supported by their mothers, which leads to differences in maternal role in early interactions (Paavola et al.

, 2005) According to Harris (1992) the relationship between the cognitive/perceptual processes involved in development and the child’s linguistic experiences. The first steps in language development and the role of adult-child interaction (both verbal and nonverbal) are very important. The focus is on the way parents–mothers in particular–structure the child’s language-learning experiences so that they are conducive to the steps the child must take to master the first stages of language acquisition.

Moreover, Harris (1992) concludes that early lexical development (the learning of an initial vocabulary) may be more sensitive to individual differences in parental interaction styles than has been demonstrated to be the case for syntactic development. Hence, the emphasis of the monograph is on the period and processes of parent interaction and child language development from the pre-verbal phases, from 6 month of age, through to the appearance of word combinations, around 2 years of age; that is, roughly Brown’s (1973) Stage I and early Stage 2.

There are 3 major theoretical controversies about the nature and process of language development; the research into the influence of adult speech on children’s learning language; the role of the social interactional context in assisting language development; the child’s use of the immediate referential context in progressing through the first steps in language development; and what constitutes appropriate evidence with which to address these issues. (Harris, 1992)

In the early weeks of life, pragmatic skills (responding to verbal and non-verbal aspects of language) develop as babies interact with their carers through crying, blinking and smiling. First words appear between 12 and 18 months. (http://www. literacytrust. org. uk/Research/earlylanguage. html) ? 12-month-olds can distinguish between words, mouth sounds and object noises. They have linguistically specific knowledge of the privileged status of language. (Pruden, et al. , (2006) ? Children aged 18 to 35 months demonstrate learning through integration of earlier instruction with subsequent problem-solving experience.

Toddlers are not passive learners. (Chen and Siegler, 2000) Furthermore, according to the website http://www. literacytrust. org. uk, Mother-child dynamic in language learning has been central to early year’s research. Mothers are often the predominant influences in children’s early years. The concentration on maternal speech input implies that mothers share a unique relationship with their children as they learn language, that mothers are programmed to respond to children’s sounds in a way that reinforces early language development and, in turn, that the child has an innate capacity for learning language.

Early studies in this area found that mother’s speech facilitates, and, in some cases, hinders the language development of young children. Social contact between parents and infants are considered to be a contributing factor in language development. It is also noted that social interaction with other people can either impede or development the babies language. Environment and culture can influence one’s speech as well. A baby whose parents are Asian and American and living in Europe could somehow impede his speech especially when there are different languages at home.

Being specific at an early age could help the baby understand more and becomes attuned to his surroundings. Additionally, when the child verbally establishes complex connections and relations between perceived phenomena with the help of an adult, the child introduces at each moment essential qualitative changes in the receptivity and interpretation of sensory input to his brain. When a child acquires a word which isolates a particular thing and serves as a signal for a particular action, the child carries out an adult’s verbal instruction is connected to this word.

(Eveloff, 1971) Toddlers build vocabulary based on unique experiences, and new words are acquired at an average rate of one word per week until children are 18 months old. Some toddlers focus on primary words that refer to objects and people, and developing strategies such as asking “what’s that” to elicit noun labels in response from adults. Other youngsters had vocabularies with more words for affect, motion or location, expressive language. Language is considered to be the most significant adaptive measure available to developing human.

Language is highly related to developmental hierarchies such as neurophysiologic, cognitive, and affective. .(Slentz, et al. , 2001) Overall, early language and development starts with parents or the babies caregiver, it is an essential factor for parents to be educated properly on what are their roles in developing their babies language. Babies’ language development can impede or progress, depending on the ability of the parents and how they interact with their babies.

I personally believe that education is the best tool in order to achieve great results for communicating well. Language, speech, and emotions can be linked together. Emotions are greatly expressed through words, and thus this will lead to how we can influence the child’s language and development. Parents are foremost educators on developing the characteristic and personality of the child. Language factor is another contributing aspect on how the child will become in the future. References: Bowlby, J. (1980) Loss: Sadness & Depression [Vol.

3 of Attachment and Loss]. London: Hogarth Press; New York: Basic Books; Harmondsworth: Penguin (1981). Brown, R. W. (1973) A First Language: the Early Stages. Cambridge, Harvard University Press Chen, Z. , & Siegler, R. S. (2000). Across the great divide: bridging the gap between understanding of toddlers’ and older children’s thinking. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 65 No. 2 Clulow, C. (1993) Human Development: An Introduction to the Psychodynamics of Growth, Maturity and Ageing.

Psychology Press UK Eveloff, H (1971) Some Cognitive and Affective Aspects of Early Language Development Child Development, Dec71, Vol. 42 Issue 6, p1895-1907, 13p; Harris, M (1992) Language Experience and Early Language Development: from input to Uptake Hove, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Paavola, et al. , (2005) Maternal responsiveness and infant intentional communication: implications for the early communicative and linguistic development.. Child: Care, Health & Development, Nov2005, Vol.

31 Issue 6, p727-735, 9p; Pruden, et al. , (2006) The Birth of Words: Ten-Month-Olds Learn Words Through Perceptual Salience Child Development 77 (2), 266–280. Slentz, K. , & Krogh (2001) Early Childhood Development and Its Variations. Mahwah, N. J. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. “Early language development: a review of the evidence for birth to age three” can be accessed at http://www. literacytrust. org. uk/Research/earlylanguage. html (accessed February 22, 2007)

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