Psycholinguistics & Neurolinguistics

The 4 stages of language development

The 4 stages of language development,language learning process

The 4 stages of language development

The stages of language development

The main stages of language evolution on the following:

1. The preverbal or prelinguistic period

At the beginning of life, babies emit sounds that are increasingly communicative and close to language. Maternal or maternal speech, characterized by a slower rhythm , frequent repetitions, shorter phrases, grammatical simplification and clear pronunciation, can be helpful in the progressive development of the child’s linguistic comprehension.

Preverbal interactions between the baby and other people are classified as proto-conversations because they have a structure similar to that of the dialogues. This history of language is complemented by nonverbal responses such as manual gestures or facial expressions.

Among the prelinguistic signs, the “protos” stand out. The proto imperatives appear towards nine months ; The baby points to an object to indicate another person who loves it. We talk about protodeclaratives, which develop at twelve months, when a similar gesture aims to get the attention of the adult to be fixed on something.

In the first year of life the sounds of the babies advance from the first reflex vocalizations, such as grunts and cries, to the lullabies (consonants, vowels or simple combinations such as “gu”) and babble, consisting of the production of syllable chains ; initially these are repeated, but later different syllables are combined.

The first words appear at approximately twelve months of life. At this time babies tend to omit and replace phonemes, as well as to approach the pronunciation of two successive consonants to facilitate it; This is known as “assimilation.”

2. The holophrastic period

The term “holophrase” is used to speak of the phrases constituted by a single word , which are characteristic of the second stage of language development. During the holofrásico period the words fulfill functions that later will correspond to the phrases.

The meaning of the holophrases depends largely on the context in which they are pronounced and the nonverbal language. So, if a baby says “bibe,” he is probably asking to be given a bottle, but if he says so, he may want to say “This is a bottle,” for example.

The holophrase will constitute the core of the linguistic development: despite the lack of grammaticality of these constructions, its appearance indicates that the baby understands that verbalizations have the basic objective of transmitting a certain meaning to other people.

Babies usually reach the holophrastic period when they are about one year old. Later, your vocabulary will increase rapidly and intensely, and little by little you will begin to combine different words.

3. The first word combinations

The holophrastic period ends shortly before two years. At this age the baby’s vocabulary has become very complex, so that he is already able to combine words and, therefore, meanings . Thus, subjects and predicates appear explicitly for the first time, although it is not yet clear that the child distinguishes between word categories.

Between the ages of two and three, children begin to combine three or more words on a regular basis, arriving at surprisingly rich phrases. They also learn to use different intonations that allow them to use interrogative mode, for example.

The first combinations of words are known as “telegraphic speech” because the little ones ignore the less informative components of the phrases, such as the determinants and conjunctions, giving priority to verbs and nouns; The latter constitute the bulk of the words learned during this stage of linguistic explosion.

4. Advanced language development

In the period between 16 months and 4 years, approximately, the vocabulary of children increases exponentially. At this age, their linguistic ability begins to approach that of adults progressively, although it will take many years until they improve both vocabulary and grammar.

There is a dissociation between understanding and the production of language. Specifically, young children are able to understand complex phrases that they cannot generate for themselves until more than two months later.

There are two types of very frequent errors during the time of language acquisition: overextension and infra extension . The first are generalizations consisting of using a word to designate other objects, such as calling all mammals “dog”; infra extensions or under generalizations are errors opposed to these.

As the little ones grow, different milestones take place that will be fundamental for the development of adult language. Among others, the identification of irregular forms, the acquisition of verbal modes and the progress of metalinguistic and metacognitive knowledge are of great importance.

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