Ans. In psycholinguistics, child language development is one of the major concepts. We find several theories about the stages of child language development. For example, Frederic Skinner expressed his theory about the concept that language of child is developed through stimulus response while Noam Chomsky argues that children are born with Language Acquisition Device (LAD) which helps children to acquire all the possible elements of language. Another linguist David Crystal believes that children learn language in five stages. Jean Piaget, the most influential psychologist, mentioned four stages of child language development.
However, we may summarise all of those theories about child language development in the following four stages.
Babbling stage: The first stage of child language development can be named as pre-linguistic or babbling or cooing stage. This stage lasts from a child’s birth to 8 months. During this stage, babies begin to make vowel sounds like “oooooo” and “aaaaaa”. By five months, babies begin to babble and add consonant sounds to their sounds like “ba-ba-ba”, “ma-ma-ma” or “da-da-da”. Babies learn to use different articulators like jaws, lips and tongue to produce speech sound.
One-word stage: The age of 9 to 18 months of a child can be divided as the one-word or holophrastic stage. This stage is characterized by one word sentences. For example, a child would say ‘Mamma’ which refers “Mummy, please come”. Children use this one-word sentence primarily to obtain things they want. Again, a child may cry and say “Mamma”, when it purely wants attention. At the end of this stage, the child is ready to advance to the next stage.
Two-word stage: The two-word stage may start from the age of 18 months and continue till 24 months. This stage is made of up primarily two-word sentences. These sentences consist of just noun and verb. For example, a child may say “Doggie walk”, “Where daddy?” or “Puppy big”. At the end of this stage, the child learns some grammatical items like -ing, -s, -ed, -en etc.
Multi-word stage: Around the age of 24 months to 30 months, a child begins to produce multi-word sentences (three and four word sentences) that have a subject and predicate. This stage is also known as the telegraphic stage as we see in a telegram; containing just enough information for the sentence to make sense. For example, a child may say “What her name?”, “Mummy is nice”, “Want more candy?”. At the end of this stage, the child starts to incorporate plurals, joining words and attempts to get a grip on tenses. As children grow up, they continue to learn new words everybody. By the time they enter school around the age of five, gradually they have a good amount of vocabulary.
Indeed, child language development is a complex phenomenon. It involves physical and cognitive process along with habit formation and social interaction.
Leave a Reply