The Development of Language and Memory Recall
The ability for an infant to develop speech is dependent upon the ability of the child to distinguish rhythms of sounds and tones. The infant must break down the phrases of speech that at first sound like pieces of music with varying tones and cadences into distinct words which are linked to meaning. Infants begin breaking down language before they are one year old (Swingley, 2000). The ability to distinguish different sounds from each other, identifying the configuration of words, and recognize that some sounds are similar while other sounds are different is called phonological awareness. This awareness begins in infancy and can be measured as early as age 2. The definition of phonological awareness is still under debate; different definitions include contrasting levels of abilities to distinguish different sounds, abilities to blend sounds, and separating sounds into more basic subunits (Anthony & Francis, 2005).
As the child learns to break down long streams of sounds and recognizes that individual groupings and words are present, the child will begin to replicate the sounds. This action is described by Piaget as part of the preoperational stage; the imitation of sounds by the infant has moved beyond simple mimicking and the child is now attempting to influence his/her environment. At approximately 18 months of age, there is a dramatic increase in the use of language by infants, and it is at this age that the child is more self- aware (Courage, & Howe, 2002). Researchers are still attempting to detect the link between these actions. Understanding the biological reasons which prompt language development and self-recognition will permit the medical professionals to better diagnose issues related to stagnate and stalled development (Courage, & Howe, 2002). A factor hindering progress in this area is the debate of nature versus nurture. Anthony and Francis (2005) stated that the timetable for infant language development could be best understood if researchers were able to identify which aspects of development are strictly biological, and which areas of development are most influenced by the environment.
The ability to obtain a vocabulary and then increase that vocabulary is linked to memory. Short term memory allows the brain to temporarily store information. To move information (such as vocabulary terms or sound recognition) from short term to long term memory, the terms must be practiced or rehearsed. There is an ongoing debate among researchers as to the cause and effects regarding vocabulary and memory. Some studies indicate that greater abilities in retention of short term memory (as shown by non-word duplication aptitudes) predicted higher vocabulary awareness (Leclerq, & Majerus, 2010). Other studies indicate that increasing the vocabulary of an individual actually increases the ability of that individual to retain other...