Literature ReviewName: Institution
The learning of a language for children is a very wanting task. However, children acquire language with relative ease as they experience various learning situations from their caregivers, siblings, and parents. In addition to this, children acquire various languages within the broad outline in accordance to a common trajectory (Ruston, & Schwanenflugel, 2010). Despite the ease of acquiring language, there are striking individual differences in the rate and timing of lexical and syntactic growth even among siblings.
The differences in the rate of acquiring language is quite significant due differences in environment. The role of parents can influence language development quite significantly. Studies have shown that parenting style accounted for 61% of the difference in rates at which children acquire syntax (Philips, 2014). Other studies on the same subject found that conversations between children below three years old and their parents were the most influential contributors to vocabulary just before their entry into Pre-School. The caregivers speeches to the infants including the quality of the syntax, density of rare words and the ratio of quantity of affirmative comments has all been shown to relate to the children’s syntax structure (Huttenlocher, Vasilyeva, Cymerman, & Levine, 2002). Therefore, this influence is likely to bring about differences in the syntax structure between siblings.
The first-born children are at a higher risk of language impairment because it happens to be the first experience for the caregivers, and they may not communicate regularly with the infant so that they acquire language much faster. The subsequent children are always at an advantage because the caregivers are now experienced, and they have an older sibling whom they can relate with and learn from (Berglund, Eriksson, & Westerlund, 2005). The first born children are only exposed to one on one language relationship with the caregivers, while the subsequent children gain from one to many language relationships between them, the caregivers and their older siblings. For example, first-born are usually a new experience for the parents and they are sometimes clueless on how to go about syntax development with their children, they sometimes feel so cautious that they rarely communicate with them using complex words, unlike second born children who find the parents to be less cautious with the complexity of their wordings making them better in syntax and vocabulary acquisition than their older sibling.
Studies have also shown that interaction of infants amongst themselves improved their vocabulary, as the children play together singing new songs and reading books in Pre-School or at home greatly influenced their syntax growth (Weitzman & Greenberg, 2006). This is the most significant finding for this study. The firstborn children probably do not have siblings to play with and learn vocabulary and syntax from unlike the second and subsequent born children who would always have an older sibling to practice syntax with. Second born children obviously gain from overhearing conversations between their caregivers and their older siblings who might have developed some commendable syntax by then. It helps in providing them with more varied and sophisticated models of conversations.
Firstborn children are usually afforded too much affection by their caregivers, such that in an effort to communicate, the caregivers use less complex sentence structure. Studies have shown that the caregivers use one-word speeches when communicating to them. However, when it comes to the second born children, the caregivers become more accustomed to communication and used greater frequency of auxiliary- fronted questions in their speeches, this leads to a more quick growth of auxiliaries in the second born children’s’ syntax (Huttenlocher et al., 2011).
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