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Comment on the key features of grammatical development of children between the ages of 0-4 yrs.

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Introduction

Comment on the key features of grammatical development of children between the ages of 0-4 yrs. Children usually say their first words when they are between 12-18 months old. They speak in single word utterances like "Mummy", "Daddy", and "ball". These words tend to be 'naming words' or 'concrete words' which are words the child can see and touch i.e. tangible e.g. if a parent point to a ball the child will say "ball". However these single utterances can serve a multi-function i.e. they could have several meanings. These words are known as holophrastic terms e.g. a child saying "juice" could mean: "I want juice", "I want more juice" or "I have split some juice". The person being addressed can only understand these words by the intonation, the context or gestures made by the child. At the two-word stage where the child is approximately above 18 months the two word utterances begin to follow a grammatical sequence. E.g. "Teddy tired" follows the Subject + Verb order. At this stage children tend to imitate adult speech but omit words that are not functional like prepositions (at, in) e.g. Mother: "Say I'm the king of the castle" Child: "king of castle" The child has left out the determiner 'the' but yet the child seems to get some of the message across like the mother. ...read more.

Middle

and questions ('Where Mummy gone?') begin to be formed. The question words or 'wh' words like 'what', 'where', 'why', 'who', 'when' and 'how' are begun to be used though auxiliary verb not grasped. e.g. ADULT: ' Where has Mummy gone?' CHILD: 'Where Mummy gone?' The child also starts to learn the negative expressions like 'no' and 'not' which maybe used as a single expression or in front of another expression e.g. 'no want' or just 'no'. By the age of three elements that were previously omitted like determiners, prepositions and auxiliary verbs tend to be used more often. e.g. 'I am going to see Harriet.' More than one clause is used as well as the use of coordinating conjunctions (and, but) e.g. 'want to go to bed' or 'Joe go and I go'. Inflectional affixes are gradually acquired from about 18 months. Research has found a predictable pattern in acquiring inflexional affixes, determiners and auxiliary verbs. A researcher called Brown studied the language development in children between the ages of 20 and 36 months. He found that there is a regular sequence in the way inflections are acquired as shown below: 1. '-ing' 2. plural '-s' 3. possessive '-'s' 4. ...read more.

Conclusion

These words and 'no' and 'not' begin to be placed after the subject but before the verb in sentences e.g. "I don't want it". This is more difficult than adding affixes as the negatives have to be put between two words in the right place. Later more negative forms like 'isn't' and 'didn't' are used and negative constructions are generally more accurate. Overall researchers have attempted to discover whether grammatical rules are just learnt or simply imitated. In an experiment carried out by Berko, he showed pictures of fictional creatures he called 'Wugs'. At first they were shown a picture of one of these creatures and told the 'This is a wug'. Next he then showed a picture of another creature and told then 'Now there's another one, there are two of them.' The children are then asked to complete the sentence 'There are two...' The 3-4 year olds said 'wugs'. As the word has not been heard before they are clearly applying the plural -s rule. Children between two and a half and five often show awareness of grammar rules though it's not totally correct, they tend to over generalise to make the language more consistent than it is and so end up forming and using words like 'wented', 'mouses' and 'sheeps.' As the child grows older more grammatical principles tend to be learnt and correctly used though language acquisition varies in each child. ...read more.

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