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Tori Darrow

24 September 2016

EDU 214

Dr. Reinard

Language Observation

During my observation, I interacted with my 18-month old niece, Savannah. She is just

beginning to talk, so it was really interesting to academically observe her by talking and

interacting with her. For this assignment, I observed Savannah at her home right after she had

come home that evening from daycare. During my time with her, we played, ate dinner, and read


Savannah is just beginning to learn peoples names, so I spent a lot of time prompting her

to say names, or repeating names so she can learn its pronunciation. One of her favorite things to

do right now is call her dad Roger, his first name. He would correct her and say No, Daddy,

which she would then giggle and say Roger! She gets this by repeating after her mom, my

sister. Say, for example, he left his cup on the counter, my sister would say Ugh! Roger! and

Savannah would then go around saying the same thing anytime her dad did something. I wanted

to see if she could say my name so I said, Savannah, can you say Tori?, and she would try. My

name is still a bit too hard for her to say correctly so Id repeat, Can you say Tori? This time

she got a little bit closer to saying it, so I excitedly replied Yay! Good job! But because Tori is

still too hard for her to pronounce, she calls me tee-tee. But she does knows who I am. Her

mom gave her something and said Go give this to Auntie Tori, and she walked across the room
and handed it to me. Savannah showed language development not only when I prompted her to,

but also on her own while she played.

Savannah has a play kitchen set up in the living room. I watched her as she opened

cabinets and turned knobs, all while she was having her own conversation with herself. I was not

able to quite pick out what she was saying, but she was talking up a storm. This was also seen

when Savannah was playing with her toy phone. She would talk in the phone just like an adult

would, but I was not able to understand what she was muttering. The whole time we played she

would mutter sounds like she was having a conversation with me, and I would talk to her back,

although I had no idea what she was actually saying. By the time we were done playing, it was

almost bedtime.

Before bed I read Savannah a short story about a tractor. The book had interactive

textures included to make the story more appealing. For example, the book read the tractor is

rough, so then she could feel the tractor had a rough texture, almost like sandpaper. Or on

another page, the book read the tractor is shiny and she could see the tractor was shiny, made

almost of a foil material. I read the book slowly to her, moving my finger to point to each word

as I said it out loud. Savannah stayed very focused on the book the whole time I read to her, until

it was bedtime. Through my time observing her, I was able to identify which Halliday stage of

language development she was in.

Savannah is in Stage 2 Symbolic / Protolinguistic of Hallidays stages of language

development. According to our class notes, During this stage, the child places meaning into

systems while others share in the processSound and meaning have a definite relationship.

Single words, sounds or several sounds are used together to express ideas (Stages of Language

Development). When she calls her dad by his first name, it is because there was a meaning placed
behind it. When another person calls him Roger, she thinks she is supposed to call him that

too. Savannah also uses daily vocabulary words like mommy, daddy, no, hi, bye, etc. which are

considered to be during stage 2 of development. Also, when she says these words they are often

only one word at a time. For example, during my observation when she wanted her mom, she

would just yell mommy! Or while we were eating dinner, when she didnt like what she was

eating, instead of saying I dont like this she exclaimed ewww! Savannah is at the important

point where her language development is growing rapidly. According to Bloom, Language

grows tremendously once the child begins to combine words, right around the age of 18 months

(Holmberg 2011, p 71). When Savannah was having a conversation with me, it was normal for

me to not understand what she was saying. According to our class textbook, A childs oral

language grows a great deal between the ages of 1 and 2. Along with one-word utterances, the

child utters many sounds with adult intonation as if speaking in sentences. The utterances are not

understandable to adults, however (Holmberg 2011, p 71). So, Savannah would be right on

track and in stage 2 of Hallidays stages of language development.


Holmberg, B., & Allen, S. (2011). Processes and Aquisition of Reading (6th ed.).

Boston, MA: Pearson.

Stages of Language Development [PDF]. (n.d.). Retrieved from