Language development in children is an important subject for many educationists and scientists. The majority of children acquire their mother tongue without being taught by anyone. This phenomenon makes us consider that the development of speech is a difficult task, but it is done innately and unconsciously.
Repetition and imitation are the first mechanisms of this process. Psychologists and linguists have been using modern scientific and technological methods to study the way in which children acquire their mother tongue in the first years of their lives, for the last sixty years or more.
What is language? : Language is a complex and dynamic mechanism and evolving system of conventional symbols, used for thinking and communication. Keep in mind, the language of each era and each society emerges within a specific historical, social, and cultural context. Its learning and use are determined by biological, cognitive, psychosocial, and environmental factors.
Five parameters of Language
All languages of the world contain the following parameters. However, there are different theories that are found about child language development.
It refers to the organization and the way of connecting the selected sounds of the respective Language. That is, how the sounds that come out of our mouths and the pronounced each time.
Morphology refers to the forms of a language and the way in which they give meaning to words like grammar.
It refers to the way words are connected to each other, in order to form comprehensible sentences.
Semantics refers to the meaning of words but also to the semantic connection of words
It is referring to the functions of language as well as to the rules that govern conversation
Why is Language Development Important in Early Childhood
Language and communication, in general, are part of the interpersonal relationships of the individual with his environment. The child is born as a speaker in a world of speakers and learns the language because communication is in his human nature. In other words, he has the physical readiness to accept and pay attention to phonological signs, to interpret their meaning, and to use them appropriately in his contact with others.
When Do Children Start to Develop Language?
Child Language development begins before his birth. During the second trimester of pregnancy, the fetal auditory system begins to function and the fetus hears in the womb various noises and of course, the language is spoken by those around him and especially the mother.
Until the sound reaches the ears of the fetus, it passes through various natural “obstacles” such as the mother’s body, but also the amniotic fluid. This creates a distortion in the sound, but the fetus can hear the rhythm and musicality of the language spoken around it. At birth, a child has the ability to learn any language in the world.
Conditions for language development
The parts of the body that are responsible for producing speech are the lungs, the trachea, the larynx (which includes the vocal cords), the pharynx, the mouth, and the nose. Sounds are produced by changes in the shape of the vocal cavity above the larynx. The organs of the vocal cavity that are involved in producing a sound are called articulators. Articulators are divided into two types: active and passive.
Finally, a basic condition for a child to develop speech is hearing. That is, if a child is born deaf, he will never develop speech on his own
Language Development Stages
It is perfectly understandable to all of us that it takes years for a child to fully master the language
1. Newborn: up to 6 months
A child between 0 – 3 months has the ability to laugh, cry, and produce various mixed sounds (mainly vowels). It means the process of language development begins to start. At the same time, it is perfectly normal for him to react to sounds. He looks at or turns his head to their source. From 3 to 6 months he cries differently for different needs and often repeats the same sound.
2. 6 to 9 months
Continuing at the stage of language development. A child between 6-9 months understands simple instructions while articulating his first words such as “mom” and “dad” and understands what it means when someone says yes or no.
In addition, it reacts to sounds (usually turning its head to locate them) and produces words that look like words. We notice that its environment exerts a great influence on it since it gradually begins to imitate sounds from the environment. It also uses many different sounds
3. From 9 to 12 months
The child usually uses gestures to express himself, such as “hello”, “clap”, while he begins to use a few words in the age of 9 to 12 months. From this point up to 2 years old he can name familiar objects and people but also say his own name. Usually, children of this age use sentences with 2-3 words, while they are also able to understand more complex phrases. When given, for example, some complex
information, such as “Take the book and put it on the table”, they have the ability to process, understand, and execute it. They also respond to hearing their name and develop some kind of social intelligence, as they shake hands to greet. It is also a very crucial level of language development.
4. From 18 months to 2 years
Continuing the language development at the age of about 18 months they can use from 5 to 20 words, to reach, at 2 years of age, to use from 20 to 50 words. In addition, they have the ability to repeat commands but also to ask questions, no longer with one (as they did until this age), but with two words together. At this stage, children develop the skill of correctly combining two words together.
5. From 2 years to 3 years
As the child develops and goes through the period between 2 and 3 years, he starts using sentences in 4-5 words and very often asks questions about what impresses him and he still can not explain. In addition, he asks questions and more and more often uses some plurals and intentions. He also understands simple stories and answers simple questions and instructions. He manages to recognize body parts and enjoys listening to stories from picture books. Additionally, he makes sentences with negation (eg I do not go) and the vocabulary he uses has a range of about 300 words. During the day he asks a lot of questions using “what”, “where”, “why”, chats alone, or with his toys, and participates in children’s songs that have movement.
6. From 3 to 4 years old
At 3 to 4 years old he has a clear joint (although some children do not yet say “r” or “s” clearly) and the child’s speech is closer to that of adults in terms of grammar and syntax. He also recognizes basic colors and often asks “what?”.
At this age of language development, he is able to tell a story and convey an idea, while his vocabulary has now increased to 1000 words. He is at the stage where he can make sentences of 3-4 words and understand intentions (eg: “the game is under the chair”). He still sings songs and can tell the difference between day and night. His skills, at this stage, are complemented by the fact that he uses more complete sentences and tells part of a story.
7. From 4 to 5 years old
Characteristic of the development from 4 to 5 years is that it recognizes the basic shapes, asks “who?”, “Why?” and uses complex sentences. Has the ability to pronounce almost all consonants s and to speak without serious grammatical and syntactic errors. Creates sentences of 4-5 words and has the perception to understand when to wait his turn. At normal levels he is able to count to 5, he can combine two sentences with the “and” as well as ask a question, command, or refuse.
8. From 5 to 6 years old
At the age of 5 a child, and as he moves towards 6, pronounces all their consonants and complexes clearly understands and knows basic opposite meanings (“big”, “small”, “soft)” He also acquires the ability to reproduce the basic plot of a story and to tell it by giving a basic structure with the beginning – middle – end. Understands the meanings “same”,&”different” and uses complex sentences.
He gains information, asks questions, and seems to use about 2200 words, yet can understand and use time concepts such as “today”, “tomorrow”, “yesterday” and use grammatical tenses future, indefinite, present tense.
9. From 7 to 11 years old
At the age of 7-11 years, finally, it seems that he acquires logical and more complex thinking. The child, understanding the dimension between spoken and written, can express himself differently in writing
than in spoken but also adapt the way he speaks based on age, level, knowledge, relationship with the interlocutor.
How to Improve child Language Skills
- If you are having difficulty understanding what your child is saying to you, ask him questions about what he is trying to say or summarize part of what he has said and encourage him to add to it. This will show him that what he says is important to you.
- Encourage his efforts to communicate by showing patience and interest.
- Play with him to classify objects or cards by category (eg: animals, means of transport). This activity helps your child organize his vocabulary words in his head and find them more easily later when he speaks.
- Read with him stories that present problems to be solved, and think with him about the emotions of the characters and possible solutions. You encourage him to develop his understanding of language and his skills in making sentences
- Listen as much as possible to what your child wants to tell you. He must still practice speaking to you and gain self-confidence to develop his language.
How to Improve vocabulary of Child
- Explain the meaning of the new words to him. Also tell her the names of categories, such as “means of transportation”, and use there in n m inappropriate sentences. For example: “Cars, buses, and trains are all means of transportation. “
- Continue to read stories with him that present problems to be solved, and think with him about the characters’ emotions and possible solutions. On a daily basis and when you look at books, if the context lends itself to it, ask him complex questions like “why?” “,” When? ” and how? “. Questions that he cannot answer with “yes” or “no” encourage him to think and formulate his sentences.
- Have fun with the sounds. Use a game with illustrated cards (eg: a lotto game) and find the rhyming words (eg: “boat” and “hammer”). This leads him to focus on the sounds in words, which will make it easier for him to learn to read when he is at school.
- Tell him jokes and pay attention to what he finds funny. His humor speaks volumes about his understanding of language and its intricacies. At his age, he understands better the fact that people sometimes say things just for fun.
- Remember that all children learn to master the language at their own pace. Some of their abilities develop early and some develop later. If you are concerned about any aspect of your child’s language acquisition, talk to their doctor.
It is understood, then, that man’s ability to communicate and trade with others is the essential background for the acquisition of Language. Communication starts from the birth of the child and develops through specific stages of development that lead to the acquisition of oral speech and then to the acquisition of written speech.
Must remember the child always develops more his vocabulary and learns to make more and more complex sentences, the child still makes mistakes when he speaks (in his words, his sentences, the sounds he says), but he does less and less as he approaches 5 years old. Listening helps your kids in language development.