The Development Of Language Skills

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The Development of Language Skills among English Speaking Children in the United States from Three to Four Years Old


The expectation of this research paper is to outline the milestones of a child's language development in the age range of three to four years old. The information acquired from the research can assist in determining age appropriate activities and lessons that will maximize the promotion of language skills at this age level. The research will define the importance of caregivers in a private day care setting. The caregivers in a daycare provide activities and interact with children to promote and strengthen development in many areas of life. As children interact with caregivers and children in the classroom their interactions will be observed. Young children are taking in every experience they encounter to learn how to interact and where they fit in that environment; language development will be the focus of this thesis.

It is widely understood that children's language acquisition is a remarkably robust phenomenon. A valuable scientific generalization is that youngsters share a nearly universal aptitude for the acquisition of their native language during the first few years of life. As documented in this volume, there is now a large literature that provides descriptive benchmarks, pegged to chronological age, that describe children's language development across different linguistic dimensions and social contexts of use; the ways in which children may or may not draw upon one dimension, such as semantic development, to build another, such as syntax; and the ways in which children's social contexts contribute to their development.

Opposition to his perspective came from scholars who argued for more influence attributable to variations in environmental exposure that are less extreme than total deprivation. From either perspective, a corollary was implied: If a child did not develop language readily, there must have been something significantly deficit about the child's environment (barring no obvious concomitant conditions such as severe mental retardation or hearing loss that would impair a youngster's abilities to acquire language).

Children with specific language impairment (SLI) are significant exceptions to this assumption. Children with SLI do not keep up with their age peers in their language development, although there is no obvious reason for them to fall behind. To understand these youngsters, the perspective shifts from central tendencies across all children to individual differences characteristic of a subgroup of children; from an assumption of tightly intertwined dimensions of language to consideration of possible disruptions in synchrony; and from an emphasis on shared or nonshared social environments to possible inherited limitations in language acquisition mechanisms.

These variations from the normative developmental assumptions are evident in the clinical, developmental, and genetic perspectives of SLI, each of which is summarized in this chapter. It is suggested that a bridge between the genetic and developmental perspectives is needed and the notion of maturational mechanisms could serve such a bridging function. There is a long-standing interest in the possible causes of SLI. The momentum of modern genetics inquiry is profoundly shaping the fundamental work ...
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