Why Is Infant Language Learning Facilitated By Parental Responsiveness?

645 words - 3 pages

In this article, we learn about the process and connection between infant word learning and parents’ responsiveness to their infants growing vocabulary and multimodal behavior. One of the first major theoretical perspectives the authors, Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda, Yana Kuchirko, and Lulu Song, state is responsiveness and early language development. In this perspective, research has shown how infant babbling has sophisticatedly progressed due to the mother’s responsiveness to her child. I don’t find it suspiring that in one study they found that infants of high-responsive mothers were more likely to achieve language milestones two months earlier than those that had low-responsive mothers. This theory familiarizes with a lot of the themes we encountered in class and in the book – the more involvement the parents have with their infant, the more positive their outcome compared to others.

The second major theoretical theory discussed, responsiveness and pragmatics, discusses ...view middle of the document...

Responsiveness and semantics, the third theory, also focuses on that fact that language learning is socially embedded and explains why that is; likewise in class, we learned that semantics is a complex task for infants because it requires both visual and auditory concentration in order to learn a new word, but with a caregivers continuous response the infant is more likely to process information in a more strategic way.

Another major theoretical perspective discussed, contiguity and contingency, describes the importance of the time between and order of an experience an infant has. This theory is easily understandable because as the article exemplified, an infant is likely to hear “apple” when an apple is physically present than the word “orange” when an apple is present, meaning they catch on quickly to what is being said and what is visually in front of them, further building on their word-mapping. Didactics and embodiment, the fifth theory in the article, is also important to familiarize with because as we learned the combination of physical and verbal cues by the parent is what allows infants to learn a word much more rapidly and remember it longer because they now have a picture that goes with the word. Also, the importance of gestures is both mentioned here and in lecture- how it increases infant attention and learning and promotes more interactive communication between the caregiver and the infant.

Lastly, scaffolding, an integral part of the development of the infant’s ability to develop and learn because of the way a parent changes how they respond to their developing child. I find this theory fascinating because you wouldn’t think that there is a difference between saying to a crawling infant “book” and to a walking infant “want to read” but there is and furthermore, based on reading the text and discussions in class, we know that scaffolding is integral in early childhood because it is one way to foster positive self-evaluations through support and encouragement from parents.

The authors conclude by stating that even though different cultures differ in how often they respond to their infant, when they do the characteristics features of responsiveness are universal through the theories mentioned above and the benefits are evident in infants with more responsive parents than less responsive ones.

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