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The Process Of Language Acquisition In Childhood

2953 words - 12 pages

Children encompass the ability to learn whichever language system they are introduced to, therefore a newborn would learn the fictional Klingon language (Hoff, 2006). Klingon is not a natural language such as English or Spanish, and does not adhere to all the rules of a natural language. Due to this issue, the child would encounter problems in saying everyday terms in Klingon. Also, since Klingon is a fictional language and not spoken in society the child would not be able to communicate with others, which may cause the child to reject this fictional language. This rejection may be related to the lack of acceptance of this fictional language in society. This could constrain the child’s ability to learn a new language in which he/she can actively communicate with the people around him/her therefore, I would not advise a mother to teach her child Klingon, even though the child has the ability to learn the fictional language.
Phonological Development
In the first years of life children transcend from infancy, in which they cannot speak nor comprehend language, to age four in which they begin to be able to express themselves in their own language (Hoff, 2006). Overall, the language acquisition process has the same endpoint for all capable children. The only difference in the language acquisition process between children is the different languages they learn, which is completely dependent upon the language the child hears. If the child were to only hear Klingon, the child would in theory learn Klingon, but the child would later reject this language because of the lack of acceptance of the fictional language in society (Clark, 1987). The first process of acquiring language is known as phonological development. In natural language acquisition, speech sounds begin to be produced by the child during infancy such as crying or burping. Then, cooing appears when the child is between six to eight weeks old, where the infant demonstrates happy vowel like sounds (Hoff, 2006). At age sixteen weeks infants begin to demonstrate laughter and vocal play (Hoff, 2006). Between six and nine month old babies begin to produce babbling sounds, then they utter their first word around age one (Hoff, 2006). When children speak their first word it is usually as an isolated unit (Goldin-Meadow, 2006), and not considered a major step in phonological development (Hoff, 2006). Children then learn that their first spoken word is composed of smaller parts, which is known as morphology, and that the word can be used as a building block for larger sentences called syntax (Goldin-Meadow, 2006). A child’s first word goes farther then communicating a message between the child and communicative partner, the word retains symbolic meaning (Goldin-Meadow, 2006). At age eighteen months phonological processes develop, in which the child’s speech characteristics begin to transform (Hoff, 2006). Subsequent to eighteen months the child’s vocabulary grows and with this growth...

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