Language Article Summary

899 words | 3 page(s)

Language begins at birth and children will respond to various sounds even before they learn to speak. As they listen to the voices of those close to them, they respond to loud noises, cry when startled by a sound, and can become still when they hear a new sound. Between the zero and three months, babies learn to turn to a voice when spoken to, and will smile when they hear a familiar voice. The first three years of a child’s life is when the brain is developing and maturing, and is the most important period for learning speech and language skills. These skills develop best when their environment is full of sounds, sights, and exposure to the speech, sounds, and languages of others.

Language Article Summary
The first signs of communication start when a baby learns to cry to get food, comfort, companionship, or attention. Babies learn the voice of their mother or caretaker through sounds, and as they grow, they learn to sort out the speech sounds to make words in their language. By the age of six months, a baby can recognize the basic sounds of their language.

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McLoyd, V.C., 1998 writes about a research that reports persistent poverty has a serious effect on a child’s IQ, school achievement, and socio-emotional functioning more than temporary poverty, and children that experience both types do worse than children that have never been poor. The research revealed that when there were higher rates of complications before and after birth, it reduced access to the resources that affect the negative effects of these complications, increased exposure to lead, and less home-based cognitive stimulation partly accounted for lower cognitive functioning in poor children.

These facts along with low expectancies from teachers and poorer academic-readiness skills contributed to lower levels of school achievement among poor children. V. C. McLoyd also writes that harsh treatment and inconsistent parenting along with harsh stressors was a link between socioeconomic disadvantages and a child’s development.

Gathercole, S.E., 1990 did a research on the phonological memory skills of children with disordered language development with two control groups; one group matched on verbal abilities and the other matched on nonverbal intelligence. The language disordered children were slow in repeating single non-words and recalling word lists then the younger children of matched verbal abilities. The Language-disordered children were sensitive, however, to both the phonological similarity and word length of the memory lists except for the list that were longer. Furthermore, the poor memory performance of the language-disordered children was unlikely to be linked to impaired perceptual processing or to slow articulation speed. The author concludes that a lack of phonological storage in working memory may hurt the poor memory performance of the language-disordered children, and it could play a major role in their disordered language development.

Children often use gesture and body language in their developmental stages to communicate before using words (Iverson, J.M. & Goldin-Meadow, S., 2005). The authors were curious as to whether these gestures normally precede language development or it is fundamentally linked to it. They did research on 10 children that were making the transition from single words to two-word combinations, and they found that these gestures had a close relationship to the children’s lexical and syntactic development. Reorganization in language development is important for the way children work out the relationships between linguistic forms such as words, inflections, patterns for word combination, etc. (Bowerman, M., 1982).

Many of the lexical items that each child researched produced at first in gesture later moved to their verbal lexicon. Additionally, the children who were first to produce gesture plus word combinations, which showed two elements in a proposition were also first to produce two-word combinations. Changes in gesture predates and predicts changes in language, which suggests that early gestures may be opening up new avenues for future language developments.

Children vary in their development in speech and their language skills, but most follow a natural progression in mastering their skills in speaking. The milestones for normal development of speech and language skills help doctors and medical professionals determine if a child is on track or if he or she needs help. Often, a delay in development could be caused by hearing loss or a speech or language disorder.

Language is a powerful tool as it shapes a child’s thought patterns and abstract domains. It also plays an important role in shaping habits in thought as a child begins to think about time, but it does not entirely determine how they think (Boroditsky, L., 2001). However, a child’s development is closely linked to their social status, their environment, and their relationship with those around them; especially the mother and/or caretaker.

  • Boroditsky, L. (2001). Does language shape thought? Mandarin and english speakers’ conceptions of time. 43, pp. 1-22. Science Direct. Retrieved November 11, 2014, from
  • Gathercole, S. E. (1990). Phonological memory deficits in language disordered children: Is there a casual connection? Journal of Memory and Language, 29(3), 336-360. Retrieved November 11, 2014, from
  • Iverson, J. &.-M. (2005). Gesture Paves the way for language development. SAGE, 367-371. Retrieved November 11, 2014, from
  • McLoyd, V. C. (1998, February). Socioeconomic disadvantage and child development. PsycArticles, 53(2), 185-204. Retrieved November 11, 2014, from
  • NIDCD Health Information (2014). Speech and Language Developmental Milestones. NIH. Retrieved November 11, 2014 from

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