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Free Language Acquisition and Development in School age Children Essay Sample

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According to Barbara (2006), Language acquisition refers to the process whereby a human being does acquire the capability to perceive, fabricate, and utilize of words to understand and converse. Barbara (2006), accords here that the aptitude does involve the use of grammar and phonetics on top of extensive vocabularies. The acquired speech might either be spoken for example through vocalizations or manual, such as usage of signs. Language acquisition does involve the first language gaining and it is the study of school–age acquisition of indigenous language. This is as opposed to subsequent language acquisition. Second language attainment deals with both infants and school-age gain of additional languages. Clark, (2009), argues that Language development of the other hand is a process that commences early in human life. The process takes place when a school-age child begins to acquire language through learning how it is spoken and parody. The development of language moves from simple to complex stages (Clark, (2009).

According to Guasti (2004), the first Language acquisition and development in school age chidren occurs in various stages. These are;

1)Babbling/plateau stage

This is the initial stage in the process of language acquisition and development (Guasti, 2004). During this stage, the child is able to produce a full range of speech sounds, including the ones not used in speech, heard from his or her immediate environment. Guasti (2004) argues that the immediate environment here includes the target language. Babbling stages takes place for about six months as the child struggles to make heard sounds. Being the first stage it does involve the “goo-goo-gaa-gaa” sound type heard from babies. Barbara (2006), accords here that this is a stage set to familiarize the school age children with the sounds heard. This allows them to gain control of their vocalizations.

2)Holophrastic stage

This is the second stage after babbling in language acquisition and development in school-age children (Bhatia, (2006). The stage lasts for twelve to fourteen month in school age children. The children at this stage do not just produce any words, but the words have meaning. For example, words like drink, yes, or no, eat and go can be grasped from the child’s speech. It is very hard to get words like in, the, or and at this level. According to Bhatia (2006), this is a stage of school age children simple words acquisition. The words acquired here are used to request as well as demand and exclaim for the settlement of their needs. The most commonly noticed words are mama and water for instance if they are learning English.

3)Two-word stage/Transitions phase

This is the third stage in the process. The third stage still does not make it possible to differentiate the congested class words but some pronouns are noticeable. E.g., me and you amongst others. It is at this stage that the children begin to strand their words into short and ungrammatical strings. Such flawed wording include “give milk” when requesting for milk and “my dad” when the father comes home as examples. From this stage, children do quickly progress to real grammar, which is set in short sentences. The child is able to place words in appropriate order.

4)      Telegraphic speech stage

            Freeman & Freeman (2000), says that this is not a three-word stage. This stage rather involves the language sentences but which still lack the closed class items. It is practical to note some affixes such as the plural and past tense marker at this stage of language acquisition and development in school age children. Moreover, the subject -verb -object (svo) word order is largely consistent (Freeman & Freeman (2000). Being the final stage to fluency in first language, it involves the development of more intricate grammatical concepts. In this stage, many school-age learners are able to pluralize words, for example, book- books, pencil- pencils and other words. It is generally expected that the language infrastructure be completed when the children are between the ages of six and eight.

According to Freeman & Freeman (2000), the Second language acquisition and development in school age children does as well involve various stages just as the native language. The stages are:

  1. Preproduction stage

Freeman & Freeman (2000), argues that this is a zero to six months lasting stage. In this stage, the student has minimal comprehension of what is being taught, he or she is not able to verbalize and can only nod for a yes or no answer if consulted. The school age children can only point and make some drawings relating to the target language and it is the teacher who prompts by asking questions such as “Show me a pencil?”, “Where is the pen? In addition, “Circle the ruler” amongst other questions if the second language in English (Barbara (2006).

  1. Early production

            This is the second stage in subsequent language acquisition and development. At this level, a school-age child has limited comprehension, is only able to use one and two word responses, and takes part by use of key words and well-known phrases. The learners at this level use only present tense verbs (Freeman & Freeman, (2000). This stage in subsequent language acquisition and development covers duration of between 6 months to one year.

  1. Speech emergence

            At this stage, the children have good comprehension and are able to come up with some simple sentences though with grammatical errors. Similar to first stage in native language acquisition and development in small children, this stage does as well involve the gain of competence. It is a stage in-between 1 to 3 years.

  1. Intermediate fluency

            It is a near perfection stage where the student is able to have an outstanding comprehension of the language and only makes hardly any grammatical errors. This stage covers 3 to 5 year olds school age children.

  1. Advanced fluency

This is the perfection stage and the students have a near indigenous level of language use. Being a final stage, it is only noticeable in-between the 5 to 7 year old school-age learners.

In summary, according to Ritchie, & Bhatia (2006), the preproduction stage is a silent stage that last for not more than six months. It is not possible to hear students use any of the language at this stage. At the early production stage, students are able to use single words and the repetitive language patterns. For example, “How are you?”, “good morning?” and other words in an English class. Students are able to compose simple sentences at the speech emergent stage such as “I ate beef burger for lunch.” Barbara (2006), accords here that the learner does use complex sentences at intermediate fluency stage and a demonstration of near indigenous level of fluency at the advanced fluency stage in subsequent language acquisition (Ritchie, & Bhatia,  (2006).

As depicted in the above discussion, the fist language acquisition and development in school-age children is a process that involves various stages. Similarly, the second language acquisition does involve specific stages. According to Ritchie, & Bhatia,  (2006), in all the two language acquisition and development platforms, it is practically visible that language acquisition and development is a process that follows a specific procedure. For example, bubbling in first language acquisition and development is equivalent to the preproduction stage in the acquisition and development of the second language. The characteristics of the learners in both stages are similar in a bigger way. For instance, in both cases, the learners are only able to associate sounds heard with learning. On the other hand, the second language acquisition and development stage one, the learner is able to grasp some words but with limited responses and usage of words as opposed to the first language second stage where the learner is able to grasp language through the direct influence of the immediate environment. In addition, Ritchie, & Bhatia, (2006) argues that the synergy of the language acquisition and development on both the first language and the second language is far much similar in the school age children. 

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