Introduction uses the correct past tense of ‘go’


Child language
acquisition has recently become a crucial analysis for development
psychologists. Mabel L. Rice (1989), an American psychologist from University
of Kansas has published a journal about children’s language acquisition. Language
is a form or style of verbal expression that allow us to communicate with
people in meeting their needs. It is a foundation of communication. For
normally developing children, language appears voluntarily as a means of
talking about what they know in order to accomplish their social goals.
However, some children need to be taught. The purpose of this study is to
provide an overview of the current questions like having difficulty in
mastering the fundamental of language in child language acquisition and to
suggest guidelines for educational policy.

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current hot issues is how children learn to avoid the ungrammatical sentences.
This problem that came along with three observations was found by Baker (1979).
First observation is adults do not state the grammar’s constraints while
interacting with their children. They just use the grammatical error sentences every
day in their conversations with children such as pronoun error, misplaced
modifier, inappropriate verb tense and punctuation, misspelling and so on. The
next observation is children tend to overgeneralize linguistic rules in the early phases of acquisition and make
mistakes similar to the ungrammatical sentences listed earlier. They will apply the regular rules of grammar to
irregular nouns and verbs. It then leads to forms which we sometimes hear in
the speech of young children such as eated, foots, and fishes.
Overgeneralization process is often described in three phases. In phase
1, the child uses the correct past tense of ‘go’ as an example. But it does not
relate this past tense ‘went’ to present tense ‘go’. In contrast, ‘went’ is
treated as a separate lexical item. The child will then construct a rule for
forming the past tense and begins to overgeneralize this rule to irregular
forms like ‘go’ resulting in ‘goed’ in phase 2. Then, the child learns that
there are many exceptions to this rule and acquires the ability to apply this
rule selectively in the last phase of overgeneralization process. The third
observation is constraints in a language are arbitrary. The sound of a word
gives no hint of its meaning. Thus, it is not to be easily predictable and

not all children can develop language effortlessly. Some youngsters struggle to
achieve linguistic competence. Linguistic competence is an unconscious
knowledge of grammar that a speaker uses and understands a language. It is also
known as grammatical competence or I-language. But it is distinguishing from
linguistic performance. It is the innate
linguistic knowledge that allows a person to match sounds and meanings
(Chomsky, 1965). To overcome this struggle, a learner can process language
voluntarily and use verbal language to convey ideas. This assumption is based
on traditional teaching methods. However, if children cannot master the
language basics in kindergartens, they are greatly at risk for educational
achievement like reading skills. Not only this, their limited verbal skills
will also affect their social skills. 

Furthermore, language-learning difficulties can be
secondary to handicapping condition for instance hearing loss, limited
intellectual capability or odd social functioning. These handicapped children
should be served by language pathologists. Dublinske (1981) reported that more
than 40% of children have communication problem as primary handicap. Besides,
there are 5% of children receive services for communication handicaps. They
have communication production problems such as fluency and voice disorders.
Moreover, 3% of preschoolers lag significantly behind their peers in language
development. This kind of children are labelled as language delayed, language
impaired and specific language disability.

            However, one of the educational
policy guidelines is language development. It is the first educational
objective for preschoolers. The top way to motivate development of language is
to provide opportunities for a child to interact with objects, events and other
children. Children’s play is a primary source of speech enrichment. They do not
need to be taught language but they need chances to develop language. In
language facilitation, the role of an adult is to follow the child’s interests
and paraphrase what the child says with simple elaboration. The adult should
also interact with the child in a conversational manner about objects or events
which the child’s attention is focused on. Moreover, Children do not need to
respond in order to learn new language skills. They can get advantage greatly
from the opportunity by absorbing the conversations of others. At the same
time, they also do not need the time to practice expressing words and sentences
when they are ready to do so. Adults just have to provide pauses in their talk
with children. This can refrain the adults from doing all the talking while
interacting with children. Children can learn how to develop language by this

            An appropriate preschool is also
designed to enhance language as an educational guideline. Teacher’s input or
teaching is adjusted to the children’s comprehension levels, communication
opportunities and specific linguistic skills. To improve a child’s reading
comprehension level, teacher has to have him/her read aloud. This forces the
child to go slower and gives him more time to process what the child reads. Reread
to build fluency is important in improving comprehension level. The child needs
to read quickly and smoothly to develop fluency skill better. Rereading a
simple or familiar book help the child to decode the words quickly and better.
Teacher can assist the child if they do not understand it. Not only this,
teacher can encourage the child to talk about what he/she’s reading. This
verbal processing helps the child to remember and think through the theme of
the book. A child’s comprehension level will be increased if these methods work
on them. Children can have more communication opportunities while playing
social activities such as children’s carnival, emotion charades,
improvisational storytelling and to name a few. From these social activities,
they can interact more with other children and slowly develop language
together. They even can improve their communication skills to the max when they
grow older. Further, Cf. Fey (1986) has stated that the specific linguistic
skills are targeted as goals for individual children. Additionally, special
adjustments to the school curriculum can be applied as a guideline. School
curriculum should focus on language and is likely to be needed throughout the
secondary level as a child makes the transition from oral to written language
or from language to express what is known to the use of language as a mental
tool for acquiring new knowledge.

            Language emerges when children are
around 1 year of age. They normally do not answer direct questions at this age.
The major source of information about children’s language learning comes from
what they say. Adults can transcribe what the they say along with the
utterances of other speakers conversing with the children. Audio and videotape
records are an educational guideline in mastering the children’s fundamental of
language. According to MacWhinney & Snow (1985), although there are
transcript data from children learning non-English languages but the value of
such data is observable in the formation of Child Language Data Exchange
System. This system serves as an international data exchange and transcript
analysis center. The transcript data captures children’s production and comprehension
of linguistic forms also the grammatical rules or circumstances in which
targeted forms are used. Other than that, social interactive routines like book
reading are strongly supportive of language development especially for
vocabulary. Joint adult-child book reading is also an activity that is suitable
for a wide age span from toddlerhood through the elementary grades. It helps in
the development of oral language skills. Yet, there are some input styles may
not be helpful for a child’s language development. But directive adult style
which consists of commands, requests, directions and instructions is associated
with a slower tempo of naming words acquisition. Also, Nelson (1989) has argued
that language can be mastered by general cognitive mechanism (RELM). RELM is a
model deals with the interface of what a child brings to the task and what the
environment offers in terms of what we know about children’s general cognitive
mechanism. But this model has neglected the language-specific dimension of
language acquisition. Nelson (1989) has concluded that language learning is
based on rare events or isolated moments of understand. He emphasized the
cognitive processes of attention, comparison, categorization and memory as
central to language acquisition. In RELM model, language acquisition does not
proceed in a steady linear progression of increasingly accurate responds but
instead of four phases : preparation, analysis, assessment and consolidation.
These phases occupy unequal and overlapping times during the acquisition
process. Therefore, language acquisition is a consequence of child-constructed



In a nutshell, verbal communication is the primary
means of managing a child’s behavior and gaining access to his/her mind. The
current issues in child language acquisition should be solved in order to meet
the needs of individual children. The study of children’s language acquisition
provides awareness into human’s basic mental abilities. It gives a challenge on
how children learn and how adults can teach for a smooth learning of language
acquisition. It reminds us the priority of the communicative nature of human
existence. This finding benefits us and helps the children who have difficulty
in mastering fundamental of language. Children’s language acquisition will not
be a problem if adults use the correct ways to help children improve in their
language development. 


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