Language Development in Children

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Language Development in Children
Bonnie Eason
Fortis College

Our spoken, written, or signed words and the way we combine them as we think defines language. Infants are born unable to talk, but by four months of age, babies are able to recognize speech sounds. They are also capable of lip reading, one of the reasons babies focus on the face region. This period is known as receptive language. Shortly after the receptive stage, babies enter the babbling stage, where they spontaneously utter a variety of sounds. Before nurture molds our speech, nature enables a wide range of possible sounds. By ten months of age, parents can identify spoken words, and without exposure to foreign language, babies are not able to identify speech outside their native language. By the age of one, children have learned that language has meaning and are able to communicate with one-word statements, known as the one-word stage. At or around 18 months, children’s cognitive ability is greatly increased and are in the two-word stage, and start uttering two-word sentences. After children have mastered the two-word stage, they quickly start using longer phrases. By early elementary school, children are capable of speaking and understanding complex sentences, and continue to learn throughout the life span. In order for children to excel in language development, it is critical to expose children during infancy to promote the learning of their native language. Deaf children learn language by sign language, and move through the same stages as a child that can hear, and therefore, it is critical to expose deaf children to sign language in infancy. The psychology book attempts to explain language and has sparked an intellectual controversy. The nature-nurture issue arises on the topic on language development. B.F. Skinner’s theory of language development was based on operant learning. He believed language development was learned through exposure to a child’s native language and reinforcement....
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