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Early Children Language Development

Richard Tang Kin Wa

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Introduction Findings Discussion

• Children begin to speak at the age of 1. Although their utterances 2. Average proportion of different syllable structures in each CV > Clusters
are not adult-like yet, children continuously make remarkable utterance at different times • The CV syllable is the first structure to be dominated by Lucy at T1.
progress in language learning across childhood. • Children’s first words tend to be simple in structure, consisting of CV
• This research investigates the pattern of children’s phonological syllables for the most part (Ohala, 2008)
acquisition and linguistic development with the aid of language T1 89% 2% 9% • Lucy only starts to produce clusters at T2, when she handles the
samples obtained from a British English speaking child, Lucy, at 3 singleton consonants quite well.
ages: 17 months (T1), 25 months (T2), and 36 months (T3). • Syllables with complex onsets or complex codas (clusters) always
T2 45% 10% 39% 6% appear finally (Fikkert ,1994).
Hypothesis • Lucy does many F.C.D. in T1 to utter CV words.
• ∵ children sometimes appear to avoid producing certain sounds,
• Fricatives cannot be acquired before stops are acquired. T3 31% 22% 35% 12% preferring words with sounds they have mastered (Leopold, 1947).
• The acquisition of the syllable structures of English occurs in gradual • In T2, words undergo much fewer F.C.D. because Lucy has nearly
way. CV (consonant-vowel) is the most precocious syllable while completed the acquisition of VC and CVC syllables.
syllables with clusters are always the last. CV VC CVC Syllable with clusters
• But there is an ↑ in the usage of C.C.R. strategy in T2, which also
• As children’s linguistic competence continues to develop, their 3. Comparison between the percentage occurrence of F.C.D. and means that children begin to attempt producing clusters from 2
vocabulary goes through a major enlargement, and sentences built C.C.R y/o (McLeod, Doorn, and Reed, 2001).
from distinct word classes emerge over time.
Sentences develop as more word classes acquired
Methodology Time 1 Time 2 Time 3 • In T1, Lucy produces mainly nouns and verbs.
• The most common word classes to appear first seem to be nouns
% final consonant deletion 46 8 0
• Transcripts of language sample from Lucy at different times are (ca.60%) and verbs (ca.20%), (Crystal, 1997).
% consonant cluster reduction 14 25 0 • Lucy continues to acquire more word classes from T2 to T3,
retrieved from CHILDES Database.
• Speech sounds that she has acquired and those she has trouble especially pronouns, which always serve as a subject, an essential
pronouncing as well as her word usage are examined. 4. Acquisition of different part of speech at different times element in a sentence.
• With the remarkably ↑ in the usage of pronouns, sentences start to
emerge and develop in Lucy’s utterances.
Findings • Before children turn 3 it is likely to have utterances similar to
sentences (Yule, 1996).
1. Percentage of the total acquisition of stops and fricatives at
• Noteworthily, in T3, Lucy uses conjunctions, a word that can connect
different times
clauses to make a complex sentence.
• Children between 2 and 3.5 start to package one clause with another
to make their first complex sentences. (Kie, 1995, 2016)

• Children learning English nevertheless go through similar stages in
phonological development, although not precisely the same ages
Discussion (Ohala, 2008).
• Children make rapid and remarkable progresses in language learning,
Stops > Fricatives
always improving with a big step closer to the resemblance of adult
• Lucy has all the stops in English acquired in T2, when her fricatives
language. (Ohala, 2008; Thuresson, 2011)
just begins to develop.
• ∵ Stops present the sharpest possible contrast with vowels and
provide the most obstructive break in the acoustic stream of
speech sounds (Vihman, 1996) • Vihman, M. (1996). Phonological development: The origins of language development in the child. Wiley. • Ohala,
D. (2008). Phonological acquisition in a first language. • Fikkert, P. (1994). On the acquisition of prosodic structure.
• Production of stops starts before 2 y/o, but children may not master • Leopold, Werner F. (1947). Speech Development of a Bilingual Child, Vols 2. • McLeod, S., Van Doorn, J., &
Reed, V. (2001). Normal acquisition of consonant clusters. • Crystal, D. (1997): The Cambridge encyclopedia of
all fricatives until 7 or 8 (Ohala, 2008). language-second edition. • Yule, G. (1996): The study of language – Second edition. • Kies, D. (1995, 2016).
• So, stops are acquired before fricatives (Fikkert, 1994). • Thuresson, J. (2011). The syntactic development in the earlier
stages of children’s first language acquisition.