Language Acquisition Essay

2085 words - 9 pages

Language acquisition is vital for us to connect to one another, to be able to hear and to be heard, to understand and to be understood. It carries us from verbal/signed communication to having the ability to read. Infants from about six to nine months of age begin to attend selectively to sounds and patterns that are specific to the language(s) they hear around them, and this early language speech perception sets the foundation for language acquisition skills such as word segmentation, word recognition and vocabulary learning, and eventually the ability to read (MARCS Institute, 2014). Early development is key to unlocking how to aid children in reading, especially children with a reading ...view middle of the document...

They must hear speech over and over again (Owens, Jr., 2012). According to Robert Owens, Jr., “when an infant hears speech sounds over and over again, neurons begin to stimulate “connections” in the child’s auditory cortex in the temporal lobe, and over time a child begins to develop auditory mental maps from the phonemes heard in the environment (Owens, Jr., 2012).” Babies have lots of stimuli coming to them, as they seek to engage in their environment, and as others seek to engage them. As infants absorb their environment they begin to recognize patterns, they begin to anticipate what others will do (Owens, Jr., 2012). Infants are developing in many ways as they are developing language skills. They are developing and learning how to communicate through social interactions; they are identifying caregiver’s face, smiling socially, vocal turn-taking, gaze coupling, vocalization to reflect attitude, gestures, use of verbal and non-verbal request, and speaking (Owens, Jr., 2012). These amazing little brains have been developing since conception, and there is a lot happening in that little organ. They are taking in stimuli, they are organizing the information, they are synthesizing information, and they setting it their memory and maintaining it through rehearsal. These brains are working extensively, and before we know it they are using words to communicate thoughts.
Unlike most infants and children, perceptual organization differs for dyslexic children. According to a study by Nittrouer & Lowenstein, developmental dyslexia may be due to faulty perceptual organization of linguistically relevant sensory input (Nittrouer & Lowenstein, 2013). Their results found that children with dyslexia have difficulty with linguistic organization correspondent to sensory input, but learn to do so for the structure preserved by sine-wave signals before they do so for the other sorts of signal structure. These perceptual organization shortcomings could account for challenges acquiring refined linguistic representations, including those of of a phonological nature, though ramifications are different across affected children (Nittrouer & Lowenstein, 2013). Early phonetic perception is important for developing and acquiring language. Children with dyslexia may have challenges in their early phonetic perception. Children with dyslexia experience challenges recognizing the relatively slow amplitude modulations in the range associated with vocal-tract opening and closing, and they require greater depth of modulation than other children. (Nittrouer & Lowenstein, 2013) . Supporters of the slow-modulation deficit believe that the deficit would affect speech perception by making it hard to recover linguistic structure, including prosodic, syllabic, and segmental structure (Nittrouer & Lowenstein, 2013). This early language development could cause the hampering of the ability to process phonemically thus impacting a dyslexic child’s ability to read or write.

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