First Language Acquisition Chapter 14

First Language Acquisition
Chapter 14
Basic Requirements
•A language-using environment
•Capable of sending and receiving sounds
signals in a language
•Able to interact with others via language
Caregiver Speech
•Frequent use of questions
•Exaggerated intonation
•Slow tempo
•Long pauses
•Simple sentences
•A lot of repetition
The Acquisition Schedule
All normal children develop language at roughly the
same time
•COOING: the earliest speech-like sounds
•First few months of life
•Sequences of vowel-like sounds
•5 months old
•Able to hear the difference between vowels [i] and
[a] and syllables [ba] and [pa]
The Acquisition Schedule
•Between 6 and 8 months
•Ba-ba-ba and ga-ga-ga
•Beginning of BABBLING stage
•Around 9 to 10 months
•Later babbling stage
•Recognizable intonation patterns
•Nasal sounds [ma]
•10-11 months
•Late babbling stage; used to express emotions and emphasis
•More complex syllable combinations (ma-da-ga-ba)
•Provides the child with some experience of the social role of speech
(because adults tend to react to this type of sound production)
One-Word Stage
•Between 12 and 18 months
•Single-unit utterance
•EXAMPLES: milk, cookie, cup
•Single form functioning as an entire phrase or
Two-Word Stage
•18-20 months
•Used with a vocabulary of 50+ words
•EXAMPLES: baby chair, light off, cat bad
•Interpretation is solely related to context
Telegraphic Speech
•Between 2 and 2 ½
•Produces 200-300 distinct words
•Understands 1000-1500 words
•Strings of words in phrases and sentences (like a
•EXAMPLES: this shoe all wet, daddy go bye-bye
•By 3 yrs.
•Pronunciation has become closer to the form of adult
The Acquisition Process
Language acquisition is NOT simply a matter of :
•Providing instruction on how to speak a
•Filling a little empty head with words
•Children imitating adult speech
•An adult making corrections to a child’s speech
Rather, a more accurate view would be that children
actively construct, from what is said to them, possible
ways of using the language.
Developing Morphology
Starting at about 2 ½ yrs.
•1st : -ing morpheme
•cat sitting
•2nd : regular plural –s
•boys, cats
•Often accompanied by OVERGENERALIZATION
•Foots, mans, boyses, footses, some mens, and two feets
•3rd : possessive –’s
•Girl’s dog
Developing Morphology, Cont.
•4th : forms of ‘to be’
•Are, was
•ALSO—about the same time–irregular past tense went
and came appear
•5th : regular past tense –ed
•Walked , played
•At this stage, irregular forms (went and came) may be
OVERGENERALIZED as goed and comed
•6th : third person singular present –s and auxiliaries
•[he] Comes, [it] looks, does, has
Developing Syntax, Cont.
•1st (18-26 months): add wh-form in front and
rising intonation at the end
•Where kitty?
•2nd (22-30 months): same as 1st , but more
complex phrases
•Why you smiling?
•3rd (24-40 months): S/V inversion occurs
•Can I go?
Developing Syntax, Cont.
•1st (18-26 months): put no or not at the beginning
•I no fall. (I didn’t fall)
•2nd (22-30 months): negative forms don’t and
can’t appear with other auxiliary forms such as
won’t and didn’t following closely behind.
Developing Semantics
•When the meaning of a word is OVEREXTENDED on
the basis of shape, sound, size, movement, texture, or
other characteristics.
•doggie=all four-legged creatures
•cookie=all circular things
•fly=any little specks of anything
Overextension is usually only relevant to a child’s language
As the child’s vocabulary increases, the overextension of
words occurs less and less.
By the age of 5, the child has
completed the greater part of L1
What does this knowledge of L1
acquisition process mean for
teachers? How can we apply this
Gettysburg Address
Young 2-year-old with incomprehensible speech
Making sense of nonsense