The Development of Speech
From Vocalization To Babbling To Speech
Vocalization to babbling
Even deaf infants do it!
Vocalization To Babbling
Around the seventh month, children ordinarily begin
to babble (syllabic reduplication).
E.g. Baba, momo, panpan, dada
Both open syllables CV (“momo” and “baba”) and close
syllables CVC (panpan).
From as early as 6 months of age infants from different
language communities begin to babble somewhat
Deaf infants deprived of hearing do not do. They
babble with their hands!
Babbling to Speech
Around 1 year of age.
There is some degree of discontinuity from babbling to
the production of speech sounds. Japerson (1993)
There is some discontinuity between babbling and
meaningful speech where the kinds of sounds that
occur in babbling are not always immediately realized
in meaningful speech.
Intentional and non-intentional
Speech is dependent to some degree on babbling. By
babbling the chilled will get the chance to learn them.
Explaining the acquisition order of
consonants and vowels
Consonants are acquired in a front-to-back order, thus,
/m/,/p/, /b/, /t/ and /d/ tend to precede /k/ and /x/.
Vowels seem to be in a back-to-front order, /a/ and /o/
preceding /i/ and /Λ/.
Visibility of articulators
Ease of articulation
Early speech stages: naming,
holophrastic, telegraphic, morphemic
Naming: one-word utterances
When do children start to say their first words?
Not at all conclusive.
The mere uttering of sound like mama may or may not
indicate word knowledge.
Children can be said to have learned their first word when
1 they are able to utter a recognizable speech form,
2 this is done in conjunction with some object or event in
Holophrastic Function: One-word
Children do not only use words for objects, they use
single words for expressing complex thoughts as well.
Mama as in I want mama.
Mama as in the shoe belongs to mama.
Holophrastic=>holo=>whole and phras=> indicates
phrase or sentence.
Telegraphic Speech: Two- And
Around 2 years of age or so children begin to produce
two- and three-word utterances. Table 1.1 page 9.
Variety of purposes and semantic relations. Regarding
the purpose, The child uses language to request, warn,
name, refuse, answer, etc. and regarding semantic
relations there are relations and concepts as agent,
action, experiencer, receiver, etc.
Telegraphic Speech: Two- And
Low incident of function words:
• A second feature of the child’s utterances is the low
incidence of function words such as articles,
propositions, and the copula ‘be’.
Ease Of Observability Of Referent
Meaningfulness Of Referent
Distinctiveness Of The Signal That Indicates The
Ease Of Observability
The more easily a chilled can see or hear or otherwise
experience the referent, e.g. seeing a dog, smelling a
cookie, hearing a car, feeling hungry, the more likely
are such referent – in conjunction with the speech
sounds spoken by others – to be stored in memory.
“The dog is barking” is much easier for the chilled to
learn than “the dog will bark” because it involves a
present ongoing action.
Meaningfulness of referent
Referent objects, situations, and events that are of
interest to the chilled and about which the chilled
desires to communicate will be learned faster than
those that lack such interest. It is only natural that the
chilled will remember the more highly meaningful
E.g. ‘car table’, ‘car going’, ‘doll sitting’, ‘doll walking’.
So it is clear that function items have little inherent
meaning for a chilled who is just beginning to learn
Distinction Of The Sound Signal That
Indicate The Referent
The grater the sound distinction involved, the easier it
will be for a morpheme signal to be learned.
For example lets compare the copula ‘be’ in ‘what is it?’
with the auxiliary ‘be’ in ‘Mary’s playing.’
Later Speech Stages: Rule Formation For
Negatives And Other Complex Structures
Negative sentences, question forms, passives, and
relative clauses are just a few of the many complex
rules that children acquire in their first five years.
Negation is one of the earliest sentence structure rules
acquired by children.
Page 19, periods.
Period 1 neg+U (no fall)
Period 2 aux+neg (don’t fall)
Period 3 almost complete sentences.
The Development Of Speech
Can speech sound reach the fetus while it is still in the
Benzaquen at al. (1990). microphone inside the uterus.
Lecanuet et al. (1989). The two sound sequences.
DeCasper and fifer (1980). Recording of a mother
reading a story.
Locke (1993). Suggested that the learning of the
mothers voice have occurred within the first 12 hours
after the birth.
Speech comprehension occurs without speech
production: the case of mute-hearing children
These mute persons develop a grammar, a mental
grammar based on speech comprehension that
enables them to understand the language that they
were exposed to.
In Normal Children Speech Comprehension
Develops In Advance Of Speech Production
Progress goes bit by bit.
As the chilled acquires an aspect of grammar for
comprehension, the chilled will then try to figure out
how to use it in production.
Comprehension and production processes develop in a
parallel mode, with production always trying to keep
up with comprehension.
Speech Production Lags Behind
The Huttenlocher study 1974
He studied four young children, aged 10 to 13
months, over a six-month period and found that they
were able to comprehend speech at a level beyond that
to which they had progressed in production.
The Sachs and Truswell study
They found that children who could only produce
single-word utterances nevertheless could
comprehend syntactic structures composed of more
than one word.
The Relation Of Speech Production,
Speech Comprehension And Thought
Speech comprehension necessarily precedes speech
In learning any of the worlds languages, children must
first be able to comprehend the meaning of the
language before they themselves can produce it.
Thought As The Basis Of Speech
The meanings that underlie speech comprehension are
concepts that are in a persons mind. speech sounds
initially are simply sounds signifying nothing. The
contents of thought are provided by the child’s
experience of environment , i.e. dogs, cats, people,
food, and events concerning those objects, and the
child's experience of its own feeling, emotions, desires,
and conceptual constructions (thoughts).
Parentese And Baby Talk
Parentese is the sort of speech that children receive
when they are young. We have heard this word in
brown’s book as caregiver speech. It is also known as
Motherese, adult-to-child language and as childDirected Speech.
Characteristics of Parentese
Immediacy and concreteness
Grammaticality of input
Short sentences and simple structures
Vocabulary: simple and short
Exaggerated intonation, pitch, and stress
Baby talk is a form of Parentese but with its own
characteristics. Baby talk involves the use of
vocabulary and syntax that is overly simplified and
Vocabulary: bow-wow (dog)
and are mostly CV
In English bow-wow and Japanese wan-wan are
apparently simulation of the barking of dogs. How
about in Persian. I couldn’t find one?!
The effect of parents and baby talk
in language learning
Do Parentese and baby talk facilitate language
learning? The studies done on these questions
demonstrated a positive but small effect.