Language development in children
Children acquire language through cognitive processes, which are complex and involve a plethora of steps that include sensory awareness, followed by crying, babbling, gurgling and cooing. They then displays signs of comprehensive words ascribed to signals from adults, imitate others speech and differentiating the various sounds, as affirmed by Rathus (2011). Moreover, after a period of several months, they begin to enounce words in a meaningful way. Many theories have been developed concerning the development of language in children, in tandem with this, variable facets have been brought forth attesting the factors that enhance and discourage early language development in children. Rathus (2011) further ratifies that the problems and concerns in language development have been largely affected by the nature (heredity) and nurture (environmental) effect.
Rathus (2011) attests that language in children is enhanced when parents and other adults participate fully in the nurturing of the child’s language skills and abilities. The likely situations that can foster early development of language in children may comprise versatile aspects that include; Adult-child interaction and dynamics that involve surrounding babies with adequate learning experience, and avoiding baby safe activities and exposure of the child to abstract symbolic systems. These facets can be achieved through response to child’s expressive language efforts, in a friendly and attuned manner. The use of simplified form of speech, also known as infant directed speech, is characterized by brief and straightforward sentences in syntax and largely focused on nouns, verbs and few modifiers. The speech is also spoken slowly, accompanied with high pitch and distinct pauses (Rathus, 2011). Similarly, the key words are placed at the end of the sentences, articulated in higher voice and emphasized through repetition. Other factors that enhance language development comprise of; reading to the child, use of questions to engage the child in a conversion, gesturing to assist the child to understand whatever he or she is saying and describing the aspects of environment engrossing the infant’s current centre of attention (Rathus, 2011).
Consequently, social environment provides the desired input necessary for the cognitive development of the child for better language development. Similarly, a well-established environment and exposure of the child to certain language patterns, context and rules, with frequent reinforcement and encouragement, may foster the child’s language acquisition. Gupta (2009) asserts that better health and a prolific socioeconomic environment may provide the child with the necessary materials viable for language and speech enhancement. Language environment, to which the child is exposed, can also help the child in learning auditory skills necessary for language development (Rathus, 2011).
However, some situations may discourage adequate, early language development. Lack of parental conversation and presence can contribute to insufficient opportunities for progressive language acquisition, grammar and vocabulary attainment. In the same light, poor cognitive and intellectual development of the child may hinder the development of quality speech due to the strong relationship between intelligence and speech formation (Gupta, 2009). Poor health especially in the initial years of development may adversely affect the speech development. This highly attributed to hearing problems with limited pronunciation and vocabulary content. Poor social and socio economic environments, can also lead to a delayed or relatively retarded speech, characterized by lack of relevant toys and books that can aid in a faster language development (Gupta, 2009).
Concisely, the development of language in children is a vital thing, since it enables them communicate and socialize with people in the society. Moreover, it helps them present their needs to parents and other adults. Heredity factors and environmental facets are the fundamental issues that affect cognitive development of speech in children. Thence, it is particularly crucial to keep and maintain a social, friendly environment that can aid and enhance language development in children. It is also worth noting that frequent exposure children to a better environment, facilitates cognitive development that enables a quicker learning of languages.
Gupta, S. (2009). Early Childhood Care and Education. New Delhi: Asoke K. Ghosh, PHI Learning Private Limited.
Rathus, A. S. (2011). Childhood: Voyages in Development (4th Ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.