There are various development processes that a child goes through as he grows up. Through this development process, the children develop a form of communication as well as a language that they can best communicate in. this essay looks at various aspects of child development, and it is expected to shed more light on the development issues.
1. According to Plowden Report (1967, p. 2), language is the media through which people or other living beings use to relay information from one point to another. It is a way through which people pass on their ideas to others in a manner which is acceptable and easy to understand by all the parties involved. It is a way through which there is the movement of information from the sender to the receiver. There are different forms that language can take. The most common form is the verbal language where people use words of mouth to relay the information they have. Other languages can include body languages such as gestures, facial expressions, and the body posture. There can also be other signs that might be known only to a specific group or profession. These signs, whether in writing or through the manipulation of different body parts, constitutes communication. As such, it can be said that language is the medium through which a message is passed from the sender to the receiver.
2. Gardner and Gardner (2007) indicate that communication is the actual act of passing information from the sender to the receiver, through the use of an acceptable language between the two. Unless there is an understanding, then no communication will take place in as much as both may play their roles. As such, communication is said to be complete when the receiver of the message interprets it and gives a feedback. This is what can be termed as the process of communication. For effective communication to take place, there is no doubt that both sides must be at par as pertains to their ability to decipher the language through which the communication takes place. This aspect makes communication within a given group of people unique to them yet different from all the other groups of people. It also goes a long way in enhancing the autonomy of the group such as a professional group since they have a binding factor that is not common to the other peoples.
3. Communication and language are two different aspects. However, people often tend to confuse them in their usage or to use them as may not be deemed necessary. As such, it is important to tell the exact difference between communication and language. From the definitions given above, it is quite clear that the two are interrelated and there is no way that one can exist without the presence of the other. That is, for language to exist, then there must be the need to communicate. On the other hand, for communication to take place, the only medium that can be used is a language. From this explanation, the difference comes out quite clearly. Communication is the aspect of passing information from one individual to another. This occurs when the message is transmitted through the mutually acceptable mode of communication. The recipient of the information gets it, manipulates it and eventually gives a feedback to the sender. These processes define the cycle of communication and their completion can be termed as the completion of the communication process. That is, there is the message, the mode of communication, reception of the message and a feedback generation. Language, on the other hand, is the intermediary between the source of the information and its destination. As such, it can be safely deduced that communication is the vehicle through which information moves form one person to another. It is the intermediary between the two. As such the difference between communication and language comes in that communication is the ends of the process while language is the means through which the process is completed.
4. Research has indicated that apes can develop a language and even learn to communicate with people quite effectively. In this respect, Scally et al (2012, p. 169) indicates that a study was done on gorillas to determine whether they have the ability to develop a language. The findings of the research indicated that the gorillas have a limitation in their anatomy such that they cannot develop a form of speech. This was proven by Anon (n.d, p. 52). These findings indicated that the gorillas physiology does not allow for them to develop a form of speech. This was done through a practical example where a chimpanzee was brought up for six years together with a young child. At the end of the exercise, there were no words that the chimpanzee had. However, the same study indicated that another chimpanzee named Washoe had great mastery of the American Sign Language. On adoption, she was taken through the training and it was surprising that her proficiency grew and reached great numbers of vocabularies. It was surprising that even when she encountered a new feature that she had not learnt in her language, she could coin up a few words and combine them to describe the new item. This is an indication that these primates have an ability to develop a language. Their language may not be like the one used by humans, but it is nevertheless agreeable that they have the ability to develop a language and use it effectively. As already indicated earlier, language is the mode through which message is relayed. It is not limited to just the speech as a mode of communication, but can be as diverse as possible, accommodating the various aspects of communication that people might be expected to develop and understand.
5. Child Development (n.d, p. 1) indicates that there are various stages that a child goes through as he develops a sense of communication and language. In the first level, the child goes through cognitive development where it gains the ability to learn as well as solving problems. It then enters the social and emotional developments stage where there is an increased ability to interact and collaborate with others. As the process continues, the child enters the speech and language development stage where the child starts developing and using language quite effectively. At the next level, the child develops the motor skills which are later refined into the gross motor skills development where the child or individual eventually manages to control his muscles quite effectively. As seen here, there are various levels of development of the child and there is a form of language development that is developed at every point. It all starts with the mastery of the few common words such as papa and mama. The child then progresses to know the differences in word and grammar usage such as the use of the word feet instead of foots. Eventually, the child gets to the final stage where there is total mastery of grammar and communication becomes completely effective.
6. There are various philosophers who have tried to define the concept of language acquisition. They tend to look at the manner in which the language is developed and therefore define it from that angle. Their definitions also depend largely on the field of specialization of the individual. Skinner was a behaviorist. As such, he defined language as a form of cognitive behavior. He further posited that behavior development could be as a result of conditions operant as such, parents have a very significant role to play in the acquisition of behavior by their children. If they are keen and always encouraging their children to learn, then it is likely that the children would acquire the behaviors with much ease. At the same time, if the parents were lax, then it could take quite long for the children to acquire these behaviors. Chomsky, on the other hand, argued that the ability to acquire behavior was innate. This linguist therefore posited that language acquisition was a biological process. As such, children could easily acquire it simply by being exposed to it. No form of operant conditioning is required (Mimersbrunn, 2012).
Gardner, R.A. & Gardner, B.T. 2007. Teaching Sign Language to a Chimpanzee. [Attached pdf]
Mimersbrunn. 2012. Language Acquisition. [Online] Available at http://www.mimersbrunn.se/Language_Acquisition_5528.htm [Accessed 12th April 2012]
Plowden Report. 1967. Children and Their Primary Schools. [Online] Available at file:///C:/DOCUME~1/user/LOCALS~1/Temp/Temporary%20Directory%204%20for%20recase150014.zip/plowden1-02.htm [Accessed 12th April 2012]