What is language acquisition?
*The process by which humans acquire the capacity
to perceive and comprehend language.
Language acquisition has some basic requirements;
Children require interaction with language-users
Particular language-using environment
Physical capability of sending&receiving sound
Human infants are helped in their language
acquisition by older children&adults in home
environment who provide input for the child.
The speech style adopted by someone who spend
a lot of time interacting with a baby is called
Features of caregiver speech;
Frequent use of questions
Using exaggerated intonation
Slower tempo with longer pauses
Some examples from Turkey;
-hanimiş annesinin kuzusu?
-senin o buynuşunu yeyim ben
-uçak geliyor aç ağzını bakıyım
-babası ne almış oğluşuna araba mı almış?
-düştü mü kızım hop etti bebeğim hop etti
The acquisition schedule
All normal children develop language roughly at
the same time.
The language acquisition schedule has the same
basis as the development of motor skills.
Cooing is described as the earliest use of speech-like
0-2 months:Reflexive crying, vegetative sounds (coughs,
sneezes), Sounds reflecting their physical state.
2-5 months : Cooing and laughter. Early consonants
develop, sounds from the back of throat, laughs and giggles
form (to the enjoyment of parents).
4-6 months :Vocal play, babbling gets more adult-like,
range and pitch play,, bilabial trills are common
6-12 months :Reduplicated babbling ex: mamama, pitch
control develops, ability to sound out some consonants and
9-18 months :Non-reduplicative babbling, varying of
consonants and vowels.
First Language Acquisition
The one-word stage
can begin to utter recognizable words
phonemes that resemble words or simple
Children’s first words typically employ the
same consonants children favor in the late
stages of babbling: stops [p, t, k, b, d, g],
nasals [m, n], and glides [y, w], and often
use consonant-vowel syllable structure. The
most preferred first vowel is a low back [a].
Ba-ba, ma-ma sounds
The two-word stage
develop more complex phrases
a more complete thought than in the previous stage.
‘anne mama, baba gitti, su ver’, ‘kötü kedi’
'Baby chair' could mean...
Possession: 'this is baby's chair'
Request/command: 'put baby in chair'
Statement: 'baby is in the chair'
the child’s analytical skills enhance
their ability to form complete sentences emerges.
Roughly age two
‘ deniz çay sevdi’, ‘ anne odada uyuyor’
their vocabulary increases at a rate of as many as 10
words per week.
The acquisition process
Roughly 4 year old child
Repeat what they heard in a different versions
Adopt lots of vocabulary from the speech they hear
Do not correct the child
2,5 years old – telegraphic speech forms
First – ing form
Next – plural s (overgeneralization)
Possessive inflection –’s
Different forms of the verb ‘to be’
First regular past tense forms
Later irregular past tense forms
The regular –s marker on third person singular present
Plural (çoğul eki –lar, -ler ) is begin to use at 20-23
months. ( arabalar , bebekler etc. )
Children understand the pronouns at 2.5 years old and
use them at 3 years old (beni , bana , seni , sana , senin
) (benim arabam, senin oyuncağın )
In the formation of questions and the use of negatives,
There are three stages
1. stage ( 18-26 months)
2. stage ( 22-30 months)
3. stage ( 24-40 months)
The child’s first stage
has two procedures.
Simply add Wh form
( Where, Who)
Rise in intonation
In the second stage,
more complex expressions
In the third stage ,
the required movement
of auxiliary ( Can I have.. )
Where Momy ?
Where horse go ? Sit chair ?
Why you smiling ? See my doggie?
Can I have ?
Why kitty can’t ( It doesn’t spread to all Wh questions
Examples from Turkish
15-17 months ‘ne’ ( mu ne ? )
18-20 months ‘nerede’ (neyde abba?)
23-24 months ‘niye’ (niye vermiyorsun?)
‘hangi’ (hangi abba? )
25-30 months ‘mi-ne zaman’
Child : Simiti kim aldı ?
Mother : Simiti dayın aldı.
Child : Dayı mı aldı ?
Mother : Evet , dayın kendi aldı simiti.
Child : Kendiiiii ???
Stage 1 : putting no or
not at the beginning
(No sit here , no teddy bear)
In the second stage ,
the additional negative forms
don’t and can’t appear ,with no or not
( He no bite you I don’t want it)
Third stage : incorporation
of other auxiliary forms
( didn’t , won’t )
Children operate their own rules by forming negatives
Adult correction is useless.
Examples from Turkish
Anne yok / baba yok
Oyun şimdi değil
Turkish children use – me and –ma at 24. months
( gitme , oynama etc. )
Followed by a gradual process of narrowing down the
application of each term as more words are learned.
Antonymous relations are acquired quite late.
Examples from Turkish
A child says ‘Bak baba , araba’ (pointing out a bike ) –
A child pointing out a horse and says ‘dog’