Communication Development Essay

916 words - 4 pages

Levi is my nephew born of my biological brother Zalema and his wife Annette Kuedituka. Elliette is Levi’s order sister, who was born two and an half years before Levi. They both grew up in the same household where they were exposed to both English and Lingala. Lingala is a native language of Congo spoken in Kinshasa and the neighboring regions around it. The interesting thing is that Levi mastered that language not only better than her sister and most Congolese kids who were born or grew up in the United States, but he did it before he reached age two utilizing phases and syntaxes used by adult Congolese. How did this happen? With this post try to answer that question considering the communication milestones of toddlers from age 19 months to 24 months old.

At 19 to 24 months the child have underwent many developmental changes. However on this discussion, I will only consider the communication. At this point the toddler’s cerebral cortex shows a specialization of the left hemisphere for language because for most of us the left hemisphere of the cerebral cortex is responsible for our spoken and written languages (Berk, 2010). Also around this age, most normally developing children start expanding their vocabulary from 50 to 200 words, and in many case the start combining two words. Although at this age, toddlers start using language to communicate their emotions and feelings, their limited vocabulary would push them to use temper tantrum to insist on their demands (Berk, 2010). Most children develop their communication skills from their caregivers or mothers, but for that to happen they have to have developed an attachment to those individuals. Thompson (2000) in his legacy of early attachments argued that attachment does not just have a purpose of relationship prediction, but also a strong association with socio-emotional adaptation. This explains also why toddlers use language to help them with emotional self-regulation. In the case of Levi and her sister, the attachment to their mother who was their primary care giver helped them learn the Lingala, which was the only language their mother could proficiently speak at that time. Additionally when toddlers acquire language, they use combination of words to express their thoughts (Pinker, 2004).

For Levi, his quick learning and proficiency cannot only be attributed to reason stated above. When considering language development, there are two theories, which explains how children acquire language. The first one is behaviorism, which argues that language is acquire through operant conditioning and reinforced by the parents. Then there is the nativist theory, which states that children are born with a set of rules common to all languages, known as universal grammar. This enables them to hear,...

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