How does the phonology of a one year old differ from that of a two-three year old? Describe the main changes to be expected over the first year of word use.
A child between one and three years undergoes considerable development in their phonological ability (Ingram, 1986). They adopt specific phonological processes and it will be explored when and how children use these to attain accurate pronunciations and how individual differences affect phonological development.
Grunwell (1981) suggests that the first six months of productive language development (0.9-1.6 years) is word-based, because of the limited phonetic variants and progressive changes in pronunciation. However, he suggests 1.6-2.0 years is the end of the first stage of speech development, which is co-occurrent with the achievement of an active vocabulary of 50 words. Menn & Vihman (2011) suggest that these early words parallel babbling, in that they are characterised by unmarked elements and structures, such as plosives, nasals and glides; simple vowels and CV structures. This stage of development in a child’s inventory may be characterised as a ‘proto-system’, as the child-forms do not resemble adult words (Grunwell, 1981). However, the child’s early phonetic inventory (table 1) suggests that the child has a basic contrastive system and indicates that their phonological system has commenced, which will see an increase in new words and the emergence of two-word utterances (Grunwell, 1981).
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Table 1: A phonetic inventory of a child 1.6-2.0 years (Grunwell, 1981).
Grunwell (1981) presents a ‘chronology of phonological processes’ (p175) which reflects a child’s phonological development in terms of the disappearance of simplifying processes between 2.0-4.6years. These processes are summarised in table 2 and show that reduplication and consonant harmony are the only structural simplification processes outgrown by age two, which agree with the findings...
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