Presentation on theme: "Stages of First Language (L1) Acquisition"— Presentation transcript:
1 Stages of First Language (L1) Acquisition We are designed to walk…That we are taught to walk is impossible. And pretty much the same is true of language. Nobody is taught language. In fact you can’t prevent the child from learning it.- Noam Chomsky The Human Language Series 2 (1994)
2 Why Do We Call it Acquisition? LearningIntentional processPresupposes a teacher, teachingTeacher controls paceAcquisitionSubconscious processDoes not presuppose a teacherChild controls pace
3 Overview What are the conditions necessary for acquisition Stages of first language acquisition
4 Conditions for Learning/Acquisition Speech production and comprehensionMaking associations
5 Speech Production & Comprehension Production vs. ComprehensionWhat’s the difference?Production = SpeakingComprehension = Listening + understandingSpeech production is NOT necessary for acquisitionComprehension IS necessary for acquisitionAll healthy children learn to understand and produce languageThere are some children who cannot speak or whose ability to speak is very limited. For example, children with cerebral palsy. Their disease makes it difficult to control the muscles necessary for producing sounds. In spite of this handicap, they are still able to understand what is said.
6 Speech Production & Comprehension Children understand more language than they can produceAll learners understand more words than they can produceAt 12 months, the children can understand 10 words and can not produce any. Next, at about 14 months, they can understand 50 words and can produce 10. Finally, at about 17 months, they can understand 100 words and can produce 50.
7 Making Associations 1 Only hearing speech does not guarantee learning Children must be able to make an association between what they hear and the meaning of the message
8 Making Associations 2 Vocabulary: hot Grammar: Daddy’s sleeping A child doesn’t learn the word just by hearing it, but must also experience heat to make an association between the sound and the thing that sound represents.Grammar: Daddy’s sleepingA child learns the present progressive by making an association between the action observed and the grammar usedHot is a very common word that children learn early because of the danger associated with it. The child doesn’t have to be burned, but only has to feel some of the heat to be able to make the association.Hearing the sentence “Daddy’s sleeping” provides children with several kinds of information where the subject goes and how to express an action that’s happening at the moment of speaking.Ability to make associations becomes more sophisticated as a child matures. A child doesn’t have to experience directly; pictures and explanations can result in associations. For example, pictures of animals and explanations of words.
9 Stages of First Language Learning Pre-babbling or CooingBabblingOne-word (Naming)Two-wordTelegraphic (Two and three-word utterances)TransformationalAges are general tendencies. Each baby is unique, some are earlier and some later.Most interesting and important point is that all babies go through these stages at roughly the same time.
10 Pre-babbling: Before birth Babies pay attention to voices starting three months before they are born.Babies can differentiate between voices & prefer their mother’s voice to other voices.Babies babble when they make nonsense sounds. Sometimes the sounds are similar to words, but we will assume that there is no meaning to the sounds.Mothers – both parents, but usually the mother plays the most important roleBabies pay attention to voices from a very early age: it is probable that they start to do this three months before they are born.Cries for assistance within the first monthLaughs and smiles for pleasure within first month
11 Pre-babbling: After birth Babies soon learn to recognize their mother’s face and voice within 2 weeks after birth. They make an association between the two.Babies continue listening to speech.During the first few months they make vowel sounds and other non-speech noises (e.g. sounds that show pleasure & pain).Babies learn that different sounds lead to certain behaviors by their mothers (and thus have different meanings).CryingLaughing
12 BabblingBabies begin to make word-like sounds around 6 months (goo goo, gaa gaa)All babies make similar soundsCannot distinguish between a Japanese baby’s babbling and an American baby’sBabbling is not associated with any meaningMama is a common sound, but in this stage it is made at any time, any place, for any reason, and is not directed at the mother.Cannot differentiate between the sounds of an American or a Japanese baby at this stage
13 Purpose of Babbling Preparation for speech (words) Opportunity to practice and play with soundsVocal muscles and tongue are developing and giving the child more control of oral production
14 Naming (One-word utterances) 1 Recognize names of familiar objects and peopleDaddy, key, cookie, dogResponds to requestsGive it to me.
15 One-word (Naming) 10-18 months Babies say their first word around 10 monthsFirst words not very clearSame sounds as babbling, but there is a clear associationMama is used only when the baby’s mother is presentA lot of variation, boys are usually a little later, bilingual children later still
16 Features of Naming Stage Babies only use one-word utterancesBabies mostly use words to name thingsOne-word utterances can communicate more complex ideasMama could meanCome here mommy.That’s my mommy.Where is mommy?
17 Rate of Vocabulary Development MilestoneNelson (18 children)Fenson 1993 (1,789 children)10 words15 months (range 13-19)13 months (range 8-16)50 words20 months (range 14-24)17 months (range 10-24)Vocabulary at 24 months186 words (range )310 words (range )
18 Telegraphic (2 to 3-word utterances) Starts when babies are about 2 years oldUnderstands two part commandsGet your socks and put them in the basket.Understands contrasting meaningsHot & coldStop & goVocabulary explodingA few words to 200 – 300 words
19 2 and 3-word Utterances Child Utterances Possible Meanings Possible PurposeWant cookie.I want a cookie.RequestJoe see.I (Joe) see you.InformingNo sleep.I don't want to go to sleepRefusalWhere doll?Where is the doll?QuestionMore extensive chart on page 4 of Unit 2 reading
20 Features of 2 and 3-word Utterances Variety of purposesUsually only contains content wordsWords that express meaningWord order is grammatically correctRequests, informing, refusal and question. Naming stage mostly for naming, but this stage has many purposes.A second feature is that the utterances contain few function words such as articles, prepositions and conjunctions. Articles are words like a and the, prepositions are words like in and of and conjunctions are words like and and but.Children do make mistakes, but generally American babies will use SVO and Japanese babies will use SOV.
21 Transformational stage Begins when children are 2.5 to 3 years oldUtterances become more complexBegin to use grammatical morphemesPrepositions: in, on, for, etc.Plural endings: a cat vs. three catsVerb endings: I play vs. I playedI don’t want to go to bed + I want to finish this game = I’ll go to bed after I finish this game
23 Morphemes Order cannot be explained by frequency Expect the most common to be learned firstMost common not learned firstArticles such as a and the are most frequent but they are not learned until later. Present progressive (ing) is learned first. Fairly easy to make a connection between ‘ing’ and actions happening to children. Also, children only have to discover one meaning for ing. Using ‘ing’ again, it is fairly distinct; whereas articles such as a and the are often difficult to hear.
24 Morphemes Morphemes that are easy to learn are Easy to hearEasily connected to a meaningMorphemes that are not easy to learnDon’t affect the meaning of the utteranceAren’t easy to hear
25 Stages of First Language Acquisition - Summary Conditions for acquisitionSpeech production and comprehensionMaking associationsStages of first language acquisitionPre-babblingBabblingNaming (One-word utterances)Telegraphic (Two- and three-word utterances)TransformationalImportant to note that stages are tendenciesBy the time a child is 5 years old, she is able to produce most of the important grammar of a language. Of course, she will continue learning new words and even more complex grammar, e.g., the passive tense, but even these are generally learned by the time when the child is 10 years old and most words are learned by the end of high school.