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Introduction to Language Development in Children: Description to Detect and Prevent Language Difficulties

Eva aguilar-mediavilla.

1 Institute of Educational Research and Innovation, Universitat de les Illes Balears, 07122 Palma, Spain; [email protected]

Miguel Pérez-Pereira

2 Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Santiago de Compostela, 15705 Santiago de Compostela, Spain; [email protected]

Elisabet Serrat-Sellabona

3 Department of Psychology, Universitat de Girona, 17004 Girona, Spain; [email protected]

Daniel Adrover-Roig

Associated data.

Not applicable.

1. Introduction

The present Special Issue focuses on studies of language acquisition in children. We particularly addressed the description of language development and the variables affecting it for early detection and prevention of language difficulties. Although language difficulties are very common (14% of children present a primary or secondary language difficulty), these difficulties are misdiagnosed [ 1 , 2 ]. This might be due to the lack of visibility and the scarcity of knowledge in professionals in terms of the long-term consequences of language disorders in education and mental health. To prevent misdiagnosed identification and boost assessment of language difficulties, more typical and atypical language studies are needed. In this sense, a good description of language acquisition could help to detect and prevent language difficulties. Nevertheless, most of the research on child language development has been conducted in English. However, studies in other languages and cross-linguistic studies have shown that some results regarding language development in English may not be transferred into other languages [ 3 ]. Despite the increase in the number of studies, there is still a dearth of research on typical and atypical language acquisition in other languages and in bilingual populations. Therefore, this Special Issue aims to fill the current void in these studies, give them visibility, and show the latest research in language acquisition in children.

This Special Issue address child language from different perspectives. In this sense, it includes theoretical and empirical studies on typical and atypical child language acquisition. The contributions include studies about markers of language development in typical development, studies about language development in bilingual populations and several studies about language development in atypical populations including Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), reading disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), preterm children, hearing loss and genetic syndromes.

2. Markers of Language Development

Several studies in this Special Issue describe important factors that affect language development at different ages, thus depicting several key aspects to be considered in the prevention of communication and language difficulties throughout childhood. These studies range from the beginnings of word production [ 4 ] or gestures [ 5 ] to the impact of the use of technological devices in preadolescent children [ 6 ]. In addition, they cover different aspects or linguistic components, from phonetics [ 7 ], vocabulary [ 4 ], or syntax [ 8 ], to non-referential gestures related to narrative development [ 5 ].

The study by Serrat et al. [ 4 ] shows that prelinguistic factors have a greater weight than sociodemographic factors in explaining initial expressive vocabulary. This study shows that children under 18 months of age who imitate more are those who have a greater amount of vocabulary. In a related study, in the Special Issue Rujas et al. [ 8 ] shows that imitation or repetition of sentences, as an assessment task, is a useful tool for detecting language difficulties in older children. On the other hand, the study by Liu et al. [ 7 ] allows us to observe that the acoustic analysis of the production of certain consonants can provide accurate information on speech development and, therefore, is presented as an aspect to be considered in the evaluation of children’s speech. In their review, Vilà-Giménez et al. [ 5 ] note another indicator, not much explored previously, according to which non-referential gestures act as predictors of narrative performance. This suggests that these gestures have important pragmatic functions that help to frame discourse. In older children, the study by Acebedo et al. [ 6 ] analyzes a variable that has a negative influence on language development: greater access to and use of media devices. The authors show that preadolescent children who use media devices more frequently and for communication purposes (not for school aid, or to learn new things) present lower language scores, without being influenced by sociodemographic factors.

In short, these studies show the importance of various markers of language development, both as indicators that may be related either to adequate development [ 4 , 5 , 7 ] or may contribute negatively to language development [ 6 ]. On the other hand, repetition of words (imitation) or sentences appears as an indicator of adequate development [ 4 ], as well as an important assessment tool to identify difficulties in language development [ 8 ].

3. Bilingual Development

In terms of bilingual language development, this Special Issue includes two studies. The first study by Kan et al. [ 9 ] explores the detection of language impairment in bilingual children by monolingual adults, and the second study by Diaz et al. [ 10 ] looks at the mutual longitudinal associations between vocabulary and executive functioning (EF) in monolingual and bilingual children.

As stated, Kan et al. [ 9 ] aimed at detecting the risk of language impairment in bilingual children by monolingual adults. The authors focused on how bilingual children’s response speed during a narrative task can serve for categorizing language impairment. To do so, monolingual adults listened to several audio clips from an interactive story-retell task in both Cantonese and in English. Children were six sequential Cantonese-English bilinguals of 4 years of age; three of them had a language impairment and three were TD. Results showed that the interrater reliability was high for both languages, logistic regression and ROC curves revealed that adults were able to identify language impairment in bilingual children by judging their response speed, with higher sensitivity and specificity values in L1 conditions (Cantonese) than in L2 (English). These results highlight the potential relevance of looking at response speed to complement language assessment in bilingual children with language impairment.

Focusing on the potential links between EF and receptive vocabulary, Diaz et al. [ 10 ] tested monolingual and bilingual children with 4 years of age on average. The authors used a longitudinal approach with two temporal moments spread one year and departed from the theory of dual language processing as one of the potential sources for the frequently reported gains in EF in bilinguals. Their main goal was to determine whether EF exerted a direct influence on language proficiency or vice versa. Several measures of vocabulary and cognitive flexibility were administered to a sample of bilingual children and to a control group of monolingual preschool children. Results revealed that, only in the monolingual group, vocabulary at moment 1 predicted EF at moment 2. However, EF did not predict vocabulary at moment 2. The authors interpret the lack of longitudinal relations between EF and language abilities in the bilingual group together with the absence of differences in EF between both groups as a potential challenge to the purported advantage in EF in bilinguals and claim for the need of future similar studies.

4. Atypical Language Development

The Special Issue included several papers that focused on atypical language development, considering different conditions such as DLD, reading disorders, ASD, preterm, deafness and genetic syndromes.

4.1. Developmental Language Disorders (DLD)

DLD, previously named specific language impairment (SLI), is a persistent language delay affecting everyday social interactions or educational progress, in the absence of other biomedical conditions such as ASD, brain injury, hearing loss, genetic conditions or intellectual disability [ 11 , 12 ]. Four of the papers in this Special Issue focused on DLD, evidencing the increasing interest and the need of further studies of this atypical language condition. The works presented covered syntactic processing, lexical and syntactic errors, the use of non-word repetition task as a marker of DLD, and the relation between structural aspects of language, pragmatics, social cognition, and executive functions.

The work by Roa-Rojas et al. [ 13 ] explored a common error in Spanish children with DLD, the gender agreement in clitics, with a real-time processing technique of event-related brain potentials (ERP). Their results evidenced that children with DLD, contrary to their controls, did not show an enhanced anterior negativity between 250 and 500 ms post-target onset when they listened to gender-agreement violations. This result evidences a weaker lexical representation of morphosyntactic gender features in children with DLD.

Additionally, Kornev and Balčiūnienė [ 14 ] focused on the grammatical and lexical errors in children with DLD in narrative tasks in Russian. They found that the genre of discourse and age of assessment impacted not only the error distribution in children with DLD, but also in their controls, showing a relation between the cognitive load of the task and the number of errors produced. Their results support the resource deficit model that considers that the DLD is a delay in language performance but not in language competence, with errors being directly influenced by the cognitive demands of utterance and text production.

Following this hypothesis that children with DLD exhibit a limited cognitive load, and thus that language processing can easily overload their cognitive systems, non-word repetition has been proposed as a measure of the phonological working memory capacity and a marker of DLD [ 15 , 16 ]. In this sense, the work of Ahufinger et al. [ 17 ] explored the consistency of a non-word repetition task of 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-syllables presented in a random order and with varied wordlikeness ratings. Their results showed that the task discriminated correctly children with and without DLD (from 5 years and 16 years) speaking Catalan–Spanish (bilinguals) and European Portuguese (monolinguals). In this sense, children with DLD were less accurate repeating syllables than typical language developing (TD) children. Interestingly, children with DLD were more accurate repeating non-words with high wordlikeness than low, a pattern that had not been found in TD children. In addition, bilingual children performed worse than monolingual ones. Therefore, this task identified correctly children with DLD and differentiated them from TD children in the three languages (Catalan, Spanish and Portuguese) and in bilingual and monolingual children, making non-word repetition a promising task to detect children with DLD.

The last work in this section, by Andres-Roqueta et al. [ 18 ], focused on the association between the results of the parents’ reports in the Children’s Communication Checklist-2 (CCC-2) and several direct-child measures of structural language (phonetics, receptive and expressive grammar, receptive and expressive vocabulary and a composite score), pragmatics (receptive and expressive pragmatics and a composite score), social cognition (strange stories), and executive functions (sustained attention, inhibitory skills and a composite score). The results showed that children with DLD (between 3; 10 and 9 years old) performed worse than their TD peers in all the direct-child measures. The CCC-2 correlated with all direct child assessments in the group of DLD, but only formal measures of structural language predicted parent’s reports in CCC-2. This indicates that CCC-2 answered by parents is a reliable measure to assess formal language, being structural language its best predictor.

4.2. Reading and Writing Disorders

Close to DLD and commonly comorbid with this disorder are reading and writing learning disabilities. Reading and writing disabilities are the most prevalent type of learning disabilities, with a prevalence between 7 and 10% and one of the main factors of school failure [ 19 ]. It includes impairments in reading decoding (i.e., letter–phoneme correspondence) resulting from problems in phonological processing skills and/or naming problems [ 20 ]. Children with RD also show impaired oral language skills, although not as severe as children with DLD [ 21 ].

One paper in the present Special Issue focused on reading and writing learning disabilities. González-Valenzuela et al. [ 22 ] explored the relationship between the type of delivery (vaginal or caesarean) and the occurrence of learning disabilities in reading (reading accuracy) and writing (phonetic and visual orthography), controlling for several gestational, obstetric, and neonatal variables (maternal age at delivery, gestational age, foetal presentation, Apgar 1, and new-born weight), in six-year-old children born in twin births. Their results showed a relation between the caesarean delivery and the presence of difficulties in reading accuracy, and phonetic and visual orthography. Although the authors advise that more evidence is needed, these findings could be useful in clinical practice to avoid the use of caesarean section on demand or without specialised indication.

4.3. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Children with ASD show a communication deficit that sometimes is accompanied by formal language difficulties. Two papers in this Special Issue aboard the language and communication deficits in ASD.

One paper in this Special Issue looked at the integration of multimodal information within the communicative setting in toddlers at risk of developing ASD by means of eye-tracking measures. The study by Camero et al. [ 23 ] investigated visual attention to establish potential early markers of ASD. A group of 10 age-paired TD children and another group composed of 10 children with an increased likelihood of developing ASD looked at a human face when pronouncing pseudowords on a monitor, which were associated with several pseudo-objects. They found that children with higher odds of developing ASD showed a lower number of fixations to the eyes and larger number of gaze fixations to the mouth than the TD children. ASD children also had a slightly larger non-significant pupil dilation to faces, which was constant during the distinct task periods. They also looked more at the pseudo-object and for a longer time than TD children. In contrast, TD children showed a greater pupil dilation when hearing the pseudowords. The authors discuss that objective measures of eye tracking could be considered as potential markers for early detection of ASD and serve as relevant measures of word processing in both ASD and TD toddlers.

In another paper dedicated to ASD, Torrens and Ruiz [ 24 ] explored language and communication in preschool children with ASD compared to other developmental disorders using direct measures and parental reports of language. Results revealed that ASD children show a delay in language comprehension in contrast to language production, together with several problems in non-verbal communication, as compared with children with other developmental disorders. A high association was also observed between participant measures and parental reports of language and communication. These results lead the authors to suggest that complementing participants’ measurements with parental reports is a valuable tool for language assessment. They also suggest that language comprehension deficits and difficulties in non-verbal communication might help diagnostic purposes between children with ASD and children with other neurodevelopmental disorders.

4.4. Preterm

Preterm children (very and extremely preterm in particular) are generally considered to present atypical language development. In this Special Issue, two papers are related to this topic. The first one by Pérez-Pereira [ 25 ] is a longitudinal study on the prevalence and determinants of language delay carried out with low-risk preterm children. The study spans the period between 10 and 60 months of age, with four measuring points. The participants were grouped into four groups of different gestational ages (GA) corresponding to (1) Extremely and Very preterm, (2) Moderately preterm, (3) Late preterm, and (4) Full-term children. Comparisons of the results obtained in the different language tests indicate that there are hardly any differences between the GA groups in the incidence of language delay (scores below the 10th percentile). The results found suggest that healthy preterm children do not seem to have a higher risk of language delay than full-term children. Logistic regression analyses permitted the identification of those factors that better predicted language delay at different ages, highlighting among these factors, previous language, and cognitive delay.

The second study by Joensuu et al. on the topic of preterm children’s language development [ 26 ] investigates the associations between early language development at 2 years and literacy skills at seven years of age, in a sample of 136 very preterm (VP)/very low birth weight children (VLBW) and 137 full-term controls. Their results indicate that lexical production and MLU (Mean Length of Utterances) of the three longest utterances (measured through the Finnish CDI) and the expressive language score (from the Bayley Scales of Infant Development-II) are quite good predictors of prereading skills, reading, and writing at 7 years of age. In addition, most VP/VLBW children who were below the 10th percentile in language measures at 2 years of age had weak literacy skills at 7 years of age.

4.5. Deafness

Children with hearing impairment without hearing implants use to show a delay or difficulties in language development. Research with hearing children has revealed that the combination of music (rhyme and rhythm) with phonological awareness activities in intervention programs increments language outcomes. The paper by Holcomb and Wolbers [ 27 ] attempts to test the benefits of American Sign Language (ASL) rhyme, rhythm, and phonological awareness for deaf children. An intervention program was provided to five deaf children between 3 and 6 years of age to examine the effects of explicit handshape rhyme awareness instruction on increasing engagement behavior and accuracy in recitation. The findings indicate that recitation skills (although not engagement) in young deaf children can be supported through interventions utilizing ASL rhyme and rhythm supplemented with ASL phonological awareness activities.

4.6. Genetic Syndromes

Most genetic syndromes involve cognitive and language developmental impairments. In the present Special Issue, the study by Zanaboni et al. [ 28 ] investigates oral motor, speech and language abilities of eight Italian-speaking children (aged 4.6 to 15.4 years) with glucose transporter type 1 deficiency syndrome (GLUT1DS). This syndrome, due to mutations in SLC2A1 gene, implies impaired glucose transport into the brain. Congruently, patients are treated with the ketogenic diet (KD) to meet the energy demands of the developing brain, as it was the case for the participants in this study. The children were assessed with different standardized tests. The results indicated that the patients showed deficits in orofacial praxis, the speech domain, and the language domain (semantic/phonological fluency and receptive grammar, in particular), as well as in the development of several cognitive functions. The authors highlight the importance of a complete speech and language evaluation in GLUT1DS patients to obtain a typical linguistic phenotype, which could guide and improve early diagnosis and intervention.

5. Conclusions

The present Special Issue focuses on the major topics of typical and atypical language development with monolingual and bilingual children, covering new and highly innovative studies that have increased the evidence for detecting and preventing language impairment especially in several languages such as Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Cantonese, Finnish, and American Sign Language.

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank all the authors and reviewers who offered their manuscripts and their constructive comments for this Special Issue.

Author Contributions

Writing—original draft preparation, E.A.-M., M.P.-P., E.S.-S., D.A.-R.; writing—review and editing, E.A.-M., M.P.-P., E.S.-S., D.A.-R. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

This work was supported by the Grant EDU2017-85909-P funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and by “ERDF A way of making Europe”. The funding sources was not involved in the study design, analysis, and interpretation of data, and writing of the report or submission for publication.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Informed consent statement, data availability statement, conflicts of interest.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Book cover

Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science pp 4469–4483 Cite as

Language Development

  • Catherine S Tamis-LeMonda 3 ,
  • Lulu Song 4 &
  • Katelyn K Fletcher 3  
  • Reference work entry
  • First Online: 01 January 2021

75 Accesses

Language learning ; Linguistic development ; Verbal communication

Language development is the process by which children come to understand and produce language to communicate with others, and entails the different components of phonology (sounds of a language), semantics (word meanings), grammar (rules on combining words into sentences), and pragmatics (the norms around communication).

Introduction

Language lies at the heart of humanity. The thousands of words and countless nuanced grammatical rules of language enable people to achieve a depth and breadth of social understanding and communication that is uniquely human. Without language, people would be left to rely on imprecise facial expressions and body movements to guess others’ intentions, states, and emotions. People would be unable to pass along complex information and fully exploit the expertise of others. Language underpins the transmission of knowledge, traditions, expectations, and values across generations...

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Language Development, Essay Example

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The concept of language development remains to be among the most awe-inspiring procedures of human growth. Among any other creatures, the capacity of humans to speak and communicate is one specific characteristic that humans enjoy. Relatively, such a capacity involves a certain process of development that humans basically undergo. It could be understood that through research, it has been discovered that language acquisition among humans start as early as the first two to three months from birth. The exceptional capacity of the human brain to incur massive amounts of developments within these specific growth months specifically implicates a strong indication on how language acquisitions differentiate humans from other creations as far more superior specie.

For the case of Tom, it could be realized how his parents put a lot into the process to make sure that his language would be of a great part of his development. Buying different toys and even programs for the sake of assisting their child acquire language at a fast and accurate pace points out the fact that these parents are far more concerned on the manner by which their child would be able to incur good language skills making it easier for him to communicate later on. Question is, what specific procedures of language acquisition would actually make it possible for a child as young as Tom to acquire good communication skills through determining good language development? Through four stages of self reflection, several points of understanding the concept of language acquisition in relation to early childhood development have provided a distinct source of trustworthy information that could help resolve the overall concept of effective learning that is needed to assist Tom acquire the best process of language development that his parents want for him.

During the first stage of self-reflection, particular lessons on human-to-animal communication have been given attention to. This particular aspect of the learning process insists on the concept of non verbal communication. This means that meanings of particular conversations are given specific attention to without the necessity of the existence of words. With the use of emotion and connection with the animals, humans are able to create a functioning relationship with them. Without any words, the human [known as the caretaker of the animals] are able to command the animals to act upon a particular gesture. For a dog for instance, the word ‘sit’ might not yet mean anything, however, the gesture of pointing towards the dog and making downward gesture suggests such action, hence, the dog follows through. Consider that the dog’s brain is much less complicated than that of the human brain. Hence, if a dog of at least two to three months old could actually respond to such commandment without being able to fully comprehend with word, how much more would the brain of a developing child appeal to such concept.

Through observation and research, it has been found out that the first six months of a young infant’s life is one of its most formative stages. The brain develops fast allowing the child to accomplish several milestones that are able to greatly reflect the child’s capacity to adapt to the environment around him. Nevertheless, the concept of non-verbal communication plays a great role in such process of development. Notably, infants, even without being commanded to copy sounds or make their own ones  begin to babble and coo. It is said that such development begins in the mother’s womb, even before the child is born. The developing baby inside the mother’s womb could already recognize sounds surrounding him, the voice of his mother being the most prominent ones. Hence, as the mother speaks, the unborn child begins to recognize such sounds and is able to connect them with particular emotional bearings that the mother feels. As the child begins to explore the world outside his mother’s womb, he goes back to the old sounds he recognizes while he was not yet being born. Such recall allows him to connect the sound with the emotions he sees from his parents’ faces and the tone of their voice as they speak. This is the reason why it is implicated among parenting seminars that their connection, their communication and the way they behave at home and around their newly born child would actually affect his attitude as he grows and of course the way he learns language at an early age.

Through this realization, it could then be realized that like the human-to-animal talk approach, young infants also follow the same pattern especially when it comes to determining the meaning of conversation and/or simple words towards the tone and the feeling that each sentence suggests. The infant might not be able to understand the whole meaning of the sentences fully yet, nevertheless, the distinct concept of relative connection between particular elements of communication defines the proper manner by which young children develop through time.

The second lesson in the first stage of self reflection intended to focus on personal language development is given attention to. As for myself, my parents told me that my first words ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ came out when I was eight months old. The cooing and the babbling stage were among the primary foundations that defined the way I acquired language. My mother told me that my ‘oooo’ sound usually meant I was hungry; not that she knew about it immediately, but she was able to observe that every time I make such sound, I point to her breast or later on to the milk bottle. Since my father was working out of the house, I usually stayed with my mother. She cared for my every need, a reason why my mother believes that we had a special communication process when I was still a baby. Every movement of my hand, my head or any other body language a make meant something. Perhaps part of the mother’s instinct, my mother kept a constant point of observation that allowed her to explore my language which allowed her to communicate with me quite well.

When I asked my mother about discipline through language at such an early age, she mentioned how I responded accordingly to the change of the tone in her voice. Unlike other children who were brought up under the care of their nannies, I was able to recognize the authority in my mother’s voice and usually respond accordingly. For instance, when I cry so much to have my bottle prepared or to be fed somehow, my mother lowers her voice-tone down and matches it with her eyes and tells me gently ‘you wait for mommy to finish’, I begin to lower down my voice and begin to fiddle with my hands as I wait for her to finish the preparation of my food or my milk bottle. The constant connection we had with each other made our communication much easier to contend with. From this point of personal experience [as told to me by my mom] suggests that parents , especially the mother has a great role when it comes to determining the process of understanding that an infant [as young as four to six months old] takes into account.

Unlike what some adults believe, a young infant is able to observe and relate to the environment surrounding him. With such capacity to explore his surroundings without even stepping on the ground yet, invokes a sense of complication on how the human brain works within the first few months of development and exposure to people and the environment that exists around them. The correlative connection that infants form as they explore their surroundings make it easier for them to interpret communication and the aspect of meaning that each word would have on them and the way they connect with others especially their parents.

The third lesson invokes the development of understanding over the infant-to-child development. Infants, as noted earlier are considered to be able to differentiate sounds and meanings based on tone and the emotion that comes along with it. Young infants are very observant especially with the facial expressions of their parents and other people surrounding them. Cooing and babbling are among the first stages of communication among infants and understanding such communication approaches on the part of the parents play a great role on how the young ones would be able acquire language at a much determinable pace. Upon observation of child psychologists and language experts, it could be noted that there is a common trend that young infants follow through as they pass the stages from the first four months towards the first eighteen months of development.

One of the said developments includes the gradual random selection of phonemes that they are able to adapt to. This is the reason why some infants are noted to be talking of some specific words but are giving off the wrong sounds for particular letters. The capacity of the tongue to give-off specific vowel and consonant sounds follows a distinct process that determines the capacity of the child to determine specific phonemes. Nevertheless, this should not put aside the fact that the young infants are indeed able to give meanings to such words with a rather accurate indication of the real meaning of each term they aim to communicate to the people around them.

Mothers in particular create a protoconversational process that they and their young children could actually respond to. For instance, this particular conversation involves short phrases that are familiar with the child. The mother adjusts down to such level of communication to be able to make a connection with the infant. From such approach, the child is able to create a distinct interpretation of how the mother relates to him and thus reacts accordingly to such process. Forming less complex sentences when talking to infant gives the young one a chance to specifically give meaning to the conversation based on the things that are familiar to him and the matters that connect them to the communication process being formed.

At 12 to 18 months, the first words are already formed. This pace of development indicates a distinct consideration on how the infant has been given the chance to become more involved in the world and the people surrounding him. The eagerness to communicate with others empowers the young child to become more expressive especially when he wants something done for him. Usually infants entering this stage are notably able to recognize 50 to 100 words at a normal pace [although they may not be able to pronounce them properly yet]. The ones who acquire slower language development are able to recognize 20 to 50 words that they actually understand. Producing properly pronounced words usually do not come into realization until the first eighteen months; some others during the first 21 st months of their age.

Hence, for the case of Tom, there is no reason to panic. It could be that there is a specific point of slower development that Tom undergoes when it comes to language acquisition but it does not mean that he would never be able to cope up. There are infants who tend to develop more on comprehension than in the actual process of speaking. In this case, parental support is extremely important. Books and other programs or paraphernalia might help, but the context of parental assistance plays the greatest impact on the language acquisition of a child towards his toddler years. The parents of Tom could actually acquire the motherese language approach which inculcates into the system of conversation that the parents establish with young tom to be less complex. Sentences should be narrowed down to shorter phrases allowing the child to connect simple words that are familiar to him towards the emotional bearing or tone of the ones trying to communicate with him.

The fourth lesson is dedicated to toddler language development. Toddlers [beginning at the 24 th month or two years of age among young ones] usually undergo a particular pattern of speech. There are no more babbling or cooing patterns; but usually certain phonemes are still not fully established. The concept of determining words among these young individuals is now related not only to emotions or voice tones as they are already able to explore their surroundings. With books and aided conversational lessons, it could be understood how the toddlers are able to create connections from old learned words to newly discovered ones.

The establishment of correlation between one word towards another is also becoming evident as toddlers become involved in creating simple unstructured sentences. More like phrases, these forms of speech on the part of the young children is already a full presentation of their ideas. Parents, instead of expecting so much from their children at this age need to take into account to reward such communication patterns through trying to understand what they mean and give attention to what they actually want to happen. Pressuring them to give properly structured sentences might in some way hinder them from exploring language on their own.

It could be understood why at some point, Tom’s parents might be too anxious about the language development that their child undergoes. AS mentioned earlier, there are those who begin to speak clear words at the age of 18 months. Nevertheless, this does not mean that it is a common pattern for everyone else. There are those who take on the proper way of speaking specific words at the age of 24 months and they still do well when they grow older. While there is a pattern that language development intends to follow especially among young children, this does not mean that every child shall follow the same pace. There are those who might go faster and others who might go slower into the process.

The parents, being the primary mentors of the child, would not be able to help out in the process if they are to be as expecting as they are taking a closer look on how others develop. It should always be remembered that even the slower-developers in the aspect of language development intend to carry on good ways of comprehension and communication patterns as they age. What the parents must to is to simply assist the children through constantly conversing with them. Reading books aloud to them and allowing them to identify things that are familiar around them would help out as much as language programs would.

Tom’s parents should then be advised to be a little less anxious and view their son separate from the others. Observing him closely and trying to adjust to his way of speech and communication pattern might allow the parents to give the child a chance to develop a personal pattern of conversation that would work as much as the common communication pattern that others his age takes into account. Forming words and sentences should never be forced out of a child; development comes in naturally and a child who is guided accordingly would be able to accomplish language acquisition methods in a pace that best fits their brain development.

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