Baby's Language Acquisition II
Whilst babies show interest in language by listening carefully and watching the movement of the person’s face during speech, their ability to produce speech is slightly delayed. Though baby’s first sounds can be clearly heard, it takes about 6 months before you will be able to recognize active baby talk. This delay has numerous reasons: the immature development of the mouth and throat has been suggested to be a hindrance but also neural development is regarded to be the reason for delay.
An important milestone in linguistic development is the beginning of babbling at around 6-8 months. Whilst hearing babies practice vocal babbling, deaf babies exposed to sign language engage in manual babbling. The stage of babbling does not show any preference of language either: every baby is born with the ability to acquire any language. However, by the age of 8-10 months, babies show signs of vocal characters specific to the language(s) they are exposed to. They can already discriminate between a foreign and their own language.
At around 10-12 months, babies can already produce and understand some words, thus pairing words with meaning. By now, they have learned to discriminate single words out of speech flow and what they could mean within the context of gestures, mimics and tone emphasis, such as “no”. By listening to continuous talk, babies learn to understand how sentences work and how meaning can be structured and conveyed. Natural speech holds all the clues they need in order to learn their native language(s), however, they rely on repetition and regularity in language structure and phonetic information.
Their natural language acquisition entails that they know to say more nouns than verbs to begin with, as their meaning within context is simpler to understand. Identifying verbs requires young children to understand their meaning within the context of their surrounding.
At around 20-24 months young children experience a vocabulary spurt and begin to combine at least two words to form a highly abbreviated sentence. Their understanding of language structure and how to use it increases by the amount of words they feel confident to use.