What Can a Two Year Old Say?

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What Can a Two Year Old Say?

The transcripts of the two infants Sophie and Katharine show the conversations between them and the adults. From this brief recorded moment in the conservations we can deduce the stages in which the children are at. By the age of two children should have just passed the two-word stage and are in or going to progress into the telegraphic stage. At two children are in the process of forming correct grammatical structures (for example forming correct inflections or question forms), pronouncing consonants at the end of words, understanding different words and how they relate and acquiring 'communicative competence' (that is the skills associated with conversation). All of this depends on amount of adult interaction a child receives. When analysing children's speech and their stages in development, the stage that each child is at and the speed of acquiring language varies for each individual and therefore if one child is behind it does not mean they are less capable or less intelligent, it is merely the fact that they might have had a slower start as can be seen in the transcripts of Sophie and Katharine despite being roughly the same age.


From the transcript Sophie has shown less complexity (or confidence) in her use of grammar. For instance, her syntax order in one of the sentences is incorrect: “No. Mary come me. Only little bit.” There is the absence of the determiner “a”. However, her question forms are near enough perfect with no errors, whereas for Katharine although most of her sentences are syntactically correct the formation of her tag question is not. Katharine asks, “We do Jason again shall we?” as opposed to “Shall we do Jason again?” Therefore, this implies that Katharine has heard a new way of forming questions from an adult and is now trying to form them herself and integrate it into her speech. For Katharine she is in the 2nd stage of constructing questions and Sophie is in the 3rd stage.

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Also, Sophie is still dependant on “No” in expressing negation (thus, she is still in the first stage of negative forms) whilst on the other hand Katherine has a variety of ways in expressing negativity. Katherine has shown more development as she uses “don't” and even the slang “dunno” with which she probably imitated from an adult (thus, she is in her third stage).


From a lexical perspective, Katharine is yet again more developed than Sophie in this area. Sophie seems to be lacking any semantic fields within her speech. This can be explained by the ...

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