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Explain the key features of a child's phonological development

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EXPLAIN THE KEY FEATURES OF A CHILD'S PHONOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT Many people believe that a child learns to speak at about the age of one and they are wrong. Every child starts to learn almost immediately although we as adults often cannot recognise it as learning to speak. Children go through several stages to learn, practice and then master their speech. It takes a child several years to achieve the various sounds in our language and in some cases, they are never fully comprehended. In the first couple of months of a child's life very little happens in the way of phonological development. The baby produces biological noises and processes such as crying and burping. The noises that are produced are made by the organs that will later be involved with speech production. Another essential element to this stage is the regulation of airflow into the body, which is fundamental to the production of speech. The baby has no opportunity to advance beyond this stage until approximately eight weeks when the their vocal tract gradually reshapes itself into the adult pattern. Following the engagement of the vocal organs, the baby is able produce a significant amount of sounds. ...read more.


The baby will now only be able to produce the sounds relevant to their mother tongue. As this process occurs, children are able to start producing recognisable words. At approximately ten months, children will start to produce distinguishable words. This phase of development lasts about ten months and the child's vocabulary will increase steadily at first but then increase dramatically. The first word that is produced by a child is often one that is associated with everyday occurrences, general family life or their surroundings, for example mama (mother), doggie (dog), nana (banana) or tick-tock (clock). At this point the child can only say some of the sounds needed to make up the words that they desire, so they use a word that might describe what the object does instead e.g. tick-tock. By the age of one children know approximately 100 words, this number starts to increase and by eighteen to twenty months is around 200 words. As infants only know a small number of words they use hyperextension, underextension and mismatch words. When using hyperextension children use one word to describe a series of others, for instance the hyponym 'apple' to describe all round fruit. ...read more.


Some sounds such as 'th' are much harder to produce such as the 'th' in 'that' will become 'dat' (d�t). In addition to 't', the sounds 'r' for instance in 'train' and 'ch' in 'church' are extremely hard to produce initially. In addition to simplification, children also use reduplication of sounds also known as assimilation to pronounce words. With reduplication and assimilation children replace sounds in a word with another sound to make it easier to say, for example, 'cat' could become 'tat' (t�t). The methods of simplification and reduplication make the words that are need to be said easier and therefore allow children to progress at a quicker rate. The first three years of a child's life are vital in their development of phonology and general speech. Children are extremely resourceful and use any means necessary to convey what they are feeling for example through intonation. These methods help the development of speech and their understanding of the surrounding world. Child language development does not stop when they can speak but continues to develop well into their teens. The phonological development of children is one of the fundamental building blocks that allows them to create complex sentences and engage in extended conversations that are critical later in life. Adam Weeks 12A English Language: Child Language Acquisition - 1 - ...read more.

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