Language Development of a Child from Birth to 5 Years

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Introduction

Language is a code made up of rules that include what words mean, how to make words, how to put them together, and what word combinations are best in what situations. Speech is the oral form of language. The purpose of this study is to find out the developmental stages the child goes through in the acquisition of language from birth to 5 years.

Language is a beautiful gift. With it we can share our wants, our needs, our thoughts, our feelings, and everything that makes us human. If you spend time with a child, you have the power to give and nurture this gift of communication.

Many factors affect the rate at which a child develops language. Sometimes language development slows down while a child is learning other skills, such as standing or walking. In other words, the bulk of the child's concentration and energy may be going to gross motor development at this point with little reserve for the development of language.

The amount and kind of language the child hears may also affect the rate of language development. For example, if the child is hearing two languages at home, his or her brain is trying to learn two sets of vocabulary, process two sets of speech sounds, and understand two sets of grammatical rules. That is a lot of work! It may take longer to begin talking, and still the child may at first feel comfortable speaking in only one of the languages. Some children who are immersed in a new language at school may be silent for a long period of time.

The rate of language development may also be affected by how people respond to the child. For example, the child whose communication attempts are greeted with eye contact, acknowledgement ("Uh huh. Tell me more. What else happened?"), and expansion of his or her ideas is likely to develop language faster than the child whose communication attempts receive little or no response. Methods

The Main method of collecting data for this study was through self report measures and parental reports. When possible, information was also obtained from the participant’s teachers. In the case of the very young children, all the information obtained was from the parents. The reason I chose to use self report measures is because the child knows best about himself. The biggest draw back of self report measures was because the children were so young it was difficult for them to communicate their thoughts and ideas to me. The parental reports were the main source of information in compiling this research study. The parents (most often the mother) were given a questionnaire to answer and were also interviewed based on the questionnaire and their answers to get a clearer picture of the child’s language abilities. The mothers were also asked to observe their children over a period of three months to be able to help in determining the abilities of their children. Different parental strategies were introduced to see how effective they would be in the child’s language development. The mothers were contacted regularly and updates on the children’s progress were recorded.

The participants of the research were chosen at random, with the idea of eliminating as many biases as possible, for instance, the gender bias, social class bias, racial bias etc. and there was no hesitation from any member to participate. Their true identities remain classified. The results of the study have been given to the participants.

As a whole the experiment group was reaching their milestones on time and was very active. I found them to be having parents who were interested in their development and their emotional needs.

For this study, two subjects were chosen from each age group; 0-6months, 6-12months, 12-18months, 18-24months, 2-3years, 3-4years and 4-5years. One subject was male the other female. 4 subjects were Sinhalese, 4 Tamil, 3 Muslim and the other 3 were Burgher. 5 subjects were from the lower class, 4 from the lower middle class, 3 from the upper middle class and 3 from...
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