• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How do infants come to understand and produce their first words?

Extracts from this document...


Andrea K Lait V0049493 ED209: CHILD DEVELOPMENT TMA 05 Option 2 How do infants come to understand and produce their first words? The development of language is one of a child's most natural and impressive undertakings. Our communication skills set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, and they're also what bring us together with each other. Babies are born without language, but all children learn the rules of language fairly early on and without formal teaching, how does this happen? In the first years of life, most children learn speech and language, the uniquely human skills they will use to communicate with other people. The developments of speech and language skills are two different, yet linked processes. Speech is producing the sounds that make up words the physical act of talking. Language is the understanding of the words and sounds we hear and also a means of expressing ourselves though the use of both words and gestures. There are many theories regarding language development in human beings. Language acquisition theories are centred on the nature and nurture discussion. The pace at which children learn language has caused many to believe that language must be in-built into the brain. Others believe that language is learned from all around us. My essay will give and account of the fundamental stages of language development/acquisition in children, and consider the two theories of nativism and cognitive in relation to language attainment. ...read more.


For example using the word 'doggy' for all small animals with four legs, suggest they have established a categorical cue of an object with four legs. Bruner (1975, 1983) points out that children are helped to form categories, in that the language they encounter at this stage is very much in a social context and parents are constantly talking about objects activities around the child, so enabling the child to link what is being said with an object or event that is happening. Baldwin (1995) studied the learning of new words by examining the implication of pointing which infants carried out with objects while interacting with adults and found that they spent longer looking at objects that adults were looking at as well. Thus, reinforcing the idea about social context assisting language acquisition. The above discussion as to how language develops in infants and the speed at which it progresses has prompted many theorists to believe that language must be in build into the brain, and that we are born with this in built device which predisposes us to acquire language. Children's ability to pick up language so rapidly and to continue to develop and communicate effectively in their environment suggests that both nature and nurture play an important role for language development and help to mature and strengthen an infant's language skills. Language development also follows a similar pattern across cultures predisposes the probability that it is somehow �wired in' to the human brain. ...read more.


Harris et al 1988 conducted a study to find out the degree of word learning that occurred from the experience the child had with their mothers, and found that there was a close similarity between the child's first words ant those that had been used by the mother. A later study conducted with children with slower language development showed that in general these mothers did not use specific object names but used general names such as "one" or "thing" to refer to an object. This illustrates the importance of maternal speech and interaction with the child in order to stimulate cognitive development and aid early language development. In conclusion it is apparent that children in all cultures follow the same progression when learning their native language. Innate theories argue that it is an inbuilt system and its acquisition is independent of social and cognitive development. Cognitive theories argue for the role of experience, and child directed learning with regards speech and general cognitive development. The environment obviously has an affect in shaping language development but there must be an innate beginning at which the processing starts. The nature/nurture debate here is whether genes or environment play the initial role in language acquisition. It appears that both have a significant contribution to a child's cognitive/language development, enabling infants to understand and produce their first words at the speed and with the efficiency as they do, and continuing research and investigation will help to establish which theory is the more convincing within the sphere of language development. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Language: Context, Genre & Frameworks essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Investigating how language has changed in children's literature; in relation to interaction between ...

    5 star(s)

    "Hah! you couldn't keep up, I suppose?" "Well, sir," said East, stepping out, and not liking that the Doctor should think lightly of his running powers, "we got round Barby all right; but then -" "Why, what a state you're in, my boy!" interrupted the Doctor, as the pitiful condition of East's garments was fully revealed to him.

  2. Critically evaluate one theory of language development. Chomsky argues that language is a formal ...

    when grouped with other deaf children, (Kegl et al. 1999, in Smith, Cowie and Blades, 2003). Goldin - Meadow and Feldman (1977, in Gross, 1999) also provide evidence for a biological base to language through their studies of four congenitally deaf children who had not been exposed to sign language.

  1. Act 3 scene 3 is a pivotal scene in the play Othello. How does ...

    Once Iago has told Othello he thinks men should be honest he begins to comment on Cassio's honesty, "For Michael Cassio, I dare be sworn I think that he is honest" "why then, I think Cassio's an honest man" It also creates the impression that Iago is reluctant to speak

  2. Phillip K dick - Imposter

    As mentioned previously, Dick uses dialogue to carry the story and is a very typical attribute to his work. Progeny is an example of how the speech furthers the text. Revealing how Peter is so distant from Humans and they appear a different specie.

  1. How does Arthur Miller use the character of Eddie to build tension in his ...

    a working class person who has not had a lot of education. Alfieri tells Eddie the only law which can help him, "the manner in which they entered the country." But Eddie is not yet desperate enough to do so.

  2. Language Investigation on Shampoo Bottles

    The only adjective used in this text is "effective" to describe the abstract noun "treatment" unlike the previously discussed texts where there are many adjectives employed to be persuasive. This is probably because the shampoo in text 2 has not much competition and is a prescriptive product ("for use as directed by doctor")

  1. Language Investigation: Barack Obama Inaugural Address

    They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

  2. Philip K Dick Comparison

    He had always assumed that she was a human just like him. However, after learning her secret he asked what was really so different about her from him. She acted so much the same as any other human that Deckard was not the only one fooled.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work