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Importance of English Education at Kindergarten Level 
ByJoseph   posted on01 Mar, 12 6774 Views 0 Comments Main Feature Add to favorite

Study of Child Language

Child language study has exercised its fascination on rulers and scholars alike for over 2,000 years, especially in relation to such questions as the origins and growth of language. Many felt that the study of linguistic development in the child (language ontogenesis) would provide clues about the linguistic development of the human race (language phylogenesis). Some interesting similarities have been noted between the vocal tracts of infants and non-human primates, but there is still a great gap between the emotional expression of infants and the propositional content of adult language, which studies of acquisition have not yet been able to bridge.

Someone who was remarkably modern in his views was the Mogul Emperor of India, Akbar the Great (1542 – 1605). He believed that speech arose from people listening to others, and that children who were isolated from human contact would not be able to speak. A contemporary Persian account, the Akbarnama of Abu’l-FAzl, takes up the story:

As some who heard this appeared to deny it, he, in order to convince them, had a serai [mansion] built in a place which civilized sounds did not reach. The newly born were put into that place of experience, and honest and active guards were put over them. For a time, tongue-tied wet nurses were admitted there. As they had closed the door of speech, the place was commonly called the Gang Mahal (the dumb-house). On the 9th August 1582 he went out to hunt. That night he stayed in Faizabad, and next day he went with a few special attendants to the house of experiment. No cry came from that house of silence, nor was any speech heard there. In spite of their four years, they had no part of the talisman of speech, and nothing came out except the noise of the dumb. (From H. Beveridge, 1897-1910, pp. 581-2).

The first year

For many parents, a child’s first words, uttered at around one year of age, mark the first real evidence of language development – the child has ‘started to talk’. But this is to ignore a great deal of early progress during the first year, without which no first word would emerge at all. This progress has to be made in three main areas: sound production, speech perception, and speech interaction.

Sound production

Between birth and 12 months, a vast change takes place in a baby’s sound-producing abilities, and several stages of development have been proposed:

Stage 1 (0-8 weeks): basic biological noises

Stage II (8-20 weeks): Cooing and laughing

Stage III (20-30 weeks): Vocal play

Stage IV (25-50 weeks): Babbling

Stage V (9-18 months): Melodic utterance

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