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Language Development of a Child from Birth to 5 Years

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Autor:   •  February 11, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  8,925 Words (36 Pages)  •  2,256 Views

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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.


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 the upper class.

The questionnaire used was created with the idea of covering all the main points in language development; the child’s environmental input, the age she began talking/making sounds, word usage, sentence usage, grammar, gestures, parental support/strategies, patterns, common mistakes, comprehension, vocabulary and clarity of speech.

Parental observation helped a great deal in compiling the information as it acted like a progress report where I could monitor how the child’s language developed over a short period of time. As this research was built on the cross-sectional design, parental observations were very useful. The need to get the subject accustomed to the observer and other problems that crop up were avoided by using the parent, a familiar person as the observer.


Case Studies

As this research was based on the Cross- Sectional design, only the information relevant to the age group the child belongs has been stated. The history of each subject’s language development from birth has not been discussed. The names of the participants have been changed to maintain their anonymity. All other details are accurate and factual.

Case Study 1

Nazmia is 5 months old. She was born in July 2006. She belongs to a Muslim, lower middle class family. The household includes her maternal grandparents and an aunt. From around the age of 3 months, Nazmia was highly sensitive to the human voice and would listen attentively to the human voice more than any other sound. Beginning from producing only cries, around 3 Ð'Ð... months she began cooing and laughing around 4 Ð'Ð... months. She now produces (at 5months) single vowel sounds, for hours on end, with great fascination. She looks at a person who calls her by name, most often вЂ?baby’.

Case Study 2

Chamath is 3 Ð'Ð... months old. He was born in August 2006. He belongs to a Sinhalese, Buddhist, and lower class family. He has two older sisters who spend a lot of time with him as their mother goes to work. Chamath listens intently when his older sisters play with him. He smiles when he hears their voices even before seeing their faces. He yells loudly when he is crying, he can also make gurgling and cooing noises. Chamath smiles when his parents talk lovingly to him, but cries when they look angry.

Case Study 3

Rubini is 12


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