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Language Theories


Submitted By ssec
Words 21453
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heories about how young children acquire and develop language

Young children become amazingly proficient communicators during the first three years of life. As the Birth to Three Matters framework points out, they use 'the hundred languages of children' - body language (including facial expressions and dance); sign language (their own and family inventions as well as an officially recognised sign language); painting, drawing and mark-making; and oral expression. They have been acutely active listeners since their days in the womb, where they learned to recognise the speech patterns, tunes and tones of the languages used in their home contexts.
Language theory research informs us that young children's language development is influenced by many factors, including having sensitive adults and older children around them who will listen and attend to their expressions and who will use and model appropriate language themselves. This has been called 'Motherese' by researchers led by Cathy Snow. Children's babbling during their first year includes the sounds of every world language and 'crib talk' demonstrates their intense interest in the sounds they hear around them.
Although children with a hearing loss will stop babbling, if they grow up in a home with parents who can sign, they will follow the same patterns of development using their first language - signing - and will sign their first word at around the same age that hearing children speak theirs.
Between two and three years of age most children will be able to use language to influence the people closest to them, indicating the links with brain development and their growing ability to 'mind read' (this means they are beginning to understand the minds of their parents, sisters and brothers and try to manipulate them through persuasion, mock tears, teasing and so on).
Research shows that, in general, boys acquire

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