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LANGUAGE
Definition:
“A socially shared code to express thoughts and concepts. Language is expressed through
speech, writing and gesture. A system for the expression of
thoughts, feelings, etc., by the use of spoken sounds or conventional symbols.”
Components of language:
Phonology: It refers to the sounds of a language. Children form different sounds before
speaking; when someone tries to talk with them they produce different sounds in respond to
their talks.
Example: Some child simply gives smile; some child make sounds like “hook, aha, gooch”
etc.
Semantics: What does the word mean? They are anxious to know meanings of different new
words. They create and discover new words. Parents are important for infants. The study of
words and their meaning.
Example: Car, Doll, Teddy bear, Dada, Mama, Papa etc.
Morphology: How to make a new word. They try to memorize new words. They ask about
different items placed in front of them. They ask about them again and again to learn that new
word.
Example: Flower, Lion, Cat, Dog etc.
Syntax: How do we put words together to convey meaning, they learn how to join two or
three words that make a sense. They try to form small sentences by joining different words.
Example: My mom, your doll etc.
Grammar: It refers to the rules used to describe the structure of a language. They become
aware of the rules and regulations used in a certain language. Their language is improved by
knowing this.
Example: Use of forms of verb, Use of helping verbs etc.
Pragmatics: What word combinations do we use in certain social situations? The study of
how people use language to communicate effectively. They try to make large sentences.
Example: „Excuse me.‟ vs. „Get out of my way!‟
LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN
Infants are equipped for language even before birth, partly due to brain readiness, partly
because of auditory experiences in the uterus. Children around the world have the same
sequence of early language development. Newborns prefer to hear speech over other sounds
they prefer to listen to baby talk the high pitched, simplified and repetitive was adults speak
to infants. The sound of a human voice, whether familiar or strange always fascinates infants.
Children‟s first words are used to fulfill specific intentions. They can be used for:
 Labeling- Repeating
 Answering- Requesting (action or answer)
 Calling- Greeting
 Protesting (NO!)- Practicing
A Representative List of Early Words:
Juice, Mama, All Gone, Cookie, Dada, More, Baby, Doggie, No, Bye-Bye , Kitty, Up
Hi, Dirty, Go, Car, Hot, Do, Water, Shoe, Milk, Eye, Nose, Hat etc.
Baby Talk: Similar no matter what language their parents Babbling is the extended repetition
of certain single syllables, such as “ma-ma-ma, da-da-da, ba-ba-ba” that begins at 6-7 months
of age. Babbling is experience-expectant learning
 All babies babble
 All babies gesture
 The sounds they make are speak
Babbling: Over the next few months, babbling incorporates sounds from their native
language. Even untrained listeners can distinguish between babbling infants who have been
raised in cultures in which French, Arabic, or Cantonese languages were spoken. Many
cultures assign important meanings to the sounds babies babble:
 “ma-ma-ma”, “da-da-da” and “pa-pa-pa” are usually taken to apply to significant
people in the infant‟s life.
First Words: Infants first recognize words, and then they begin to comprehend words. At
about 4 ½ months of age, infants will listen longer to a tape repeating their own name than to
a tape of different but similar name. At about 7-8 months of age, infants readily learn to
recognize new words and remember them for weeks.
Stages of Language Development:
Students acquiring a second language will naturally progress through several stages. Given
individual differences, the period of time a student will take to pass through a particular stage
varies greatly, and because language acquisition is an ongoing process, stages may overlap.
As the teacher of second language learners, it is important to be able to recognize each stage's
characteristics and to use the following suggestions to assist students according to the stage
they are in.
Stage-1: 0 to 6 months.
Physiological task: Silent/Receptive Stage
Description of Task: First few months - babbling and cooing, 3 months - repeated consonant
and vowel sounds (i.e., da, da, or ma, ma), 3-6 months - first words spoken (i.e., Mommy)
Charteristics: The student needs time to become comfortable with classroom activities, the
teacher, and classmates begins to understand the message but does not focus on or analyze
the form responds to communication nonverbally acquires passive vocabulary will perhaps
appear confused and/or hesitant.
Strategies: The teacher should focus on teaching commands through Total Physical
Response in which the student responds to commands nonverbally (i.e. "sit down, stand up,
close your Book") use gestures and body language to act out what is being said emphasize
listening skills and not expect or force the student to speak until he or she is ready use
visuals, pictures, and other realia.
Educational Implication: Vocalization with intonation, Responds to his name, Responds to
human voices without visual cues by turning his head and eyes, Responds appropriately to
friendly and angry tones.
Stage-2: 6 Months to 12 Months
Psychological Task: Early Production of Language
Description of Task: One word utterances, Use telegraphic speech.
Charteristics: The students should understands the main idea of the message but may not
understand each word responds verbally with one or two words (may advance to two to three
word groupings) begins to use words that have been frequently heard, especially those
pertaining to classroom environment mispronounces words (mispronunciation is normal and
there is no need for correction, provided the listener understands what is being said)
Strategies: The teacher should use yes/no questions and questions that require dichotomous
answer (questions which require repetition of no more than one word that the teacher has
used in the question) begin a sentence and have the student complete the sentence with a
word continue to introduce new vocabulary while practicing previously learned vocabulary
(the student needs to hear a word many times before feeling comfortable using it)
Educational Implication: Uses one or more words with meaning (this may be a fragment of
a word) Understands simple instructions, especially if vocal or physical cues are given.
Practices inflection, Is aware of the social value of speech.
Stage-3: 12 Months- 18 Months
Psychological Task: Speech Emergence
Description of Task: Continue to use telegraphic speech, Sometimes use functional words.
Charteristics: The student begins using simple sentences improves pronunciation and
intonation demonstrates an expanded vocabulary using words that have been heard many
times and that are now understood.
Strategies: The teacher could ask how and why questions introduce rudimentary forms of
reading and writing emphasizes to other students the importance of not making fun of or
discouraging the student's efforts (such behavior would inhibit the student's language
production).
Educational Implication: Has vocabulary of approximately 5-20 word Vocabulary made up
chiefly of nouns Some echolalia (repeating a word or phrase over and over) Much jargon
with emotional content is able to follow simple commands.
Stage-4: 18 Months to 24 Months
Physiological Task: Intermediate Fluency
Description of Task: Syntactic structures added include plurals and regular verbs. Apply
basic rules that govern language. Talk about what they are doing while they are doing the
activity.
Charteristics: The student begins to use longer sentences and more elaborate speech patterns
makes errors as he or she attempts to use new vocabulary and more complex grammatical
structures begins to think in the new language instead of translating from the native language
into the new language.
Strategies: The teacher could provide opportunities for student to use the new language in
comfortable situations engage student in activities which focus on speech production and not
grammatical form or absolute correctness provide opportunities for student to talk about
himself/herself, including desires, feelings, abilities, etc. Introduce colloquialisms and
idiomatic expressions.
Educational Implication: Can name a number of objects common to his surroundings. Is
able to use at least two prepositions, usually chosen from the following: in, on, under
Combines words into a short sentence-largely noun-verb combinations (mean) length of
sentences is given as 1.2 words Vocabulary of approximately 150-300 words Volume and
pitch of voice not yet well-controlled Can use two pronouns correctly: I, me, you, although
me and I are often confused My and mine are beginning to emerge Responds to such
commands as "show me your eyes (nose, mouth, hair)"
Stage-5: 24 Months to 36 Months
Physiological Task: Advanced Fluency
Description of Task: Their talk sounds like adult talk. Knows that a word can have more
than one meaning. Creative in using language.
Charteristics: The student begins interacting with native speakers makes few grammatical
errors has a high comprehensive level but may not be advanced enough to understand all
academic classroom language continues to learn new vocabulary.
Strategies: The teacher could begin to provide some grammar instruction focus on reading
and writing skills continue to emphasize vocabulary – student still requires extensive
vocabulary development use sheltered English, scaffolding, and cooperative learning
techniques.
Educational Implication: Use pronouns I, you, me correctly, is using some plurals and past
tenses. Knows at least three prepositions, usually in, on, under, Knows chief parts of body
and should be able to indicate these if not name, Handles three word sentences easily, has in
the neighborhood of 900-1000 words, Verbs begin to predominate. Understands most simple
questions dealing with his environment and activities, relates his experiences so that they can
be followed with reason. Able to reason out such questions as "what must you do when you
are sleepy, hungry, cool, or thirsty? “
Conversational Strategies & Peer Conversations:
Conversational Strategies:
 Clarify & Extend
 Question & Tell
 Think – Aloud
Peer-to-peer conversations:
 Talk about a book in pairs
 Have conversations in centers
 Talk about what they are eating during snack
Thing to Avoid When Talking to Children:
 Correct children‟s grammar or pronunciation
 Demand complete sentences
 Reject children‟s home language
 Demand a quiet classroom
How Do We Increase Children’s Vocabularies?
 Language-rich interactions with adults
 Reading frequently to children
 Use of interesting themes
 Incorporating the 5 best practices into your curriculum
 Instruction: 5 Best Practices:
 Shared book reading
 Songs, rhymes, and word play
 Storytelling
 Circle time
 Dramatic Play
Shared Book Reading:
Key Behaviors to Use during Interactive Readings:
 Prompt to be actively engaged
 Clarity & extend
 Expand & extend
 Explain the meanings
 Prompt to use new vocabulary
Songs, Rhymes, & Word Play:
 Instructional framework:
 Say/Sing
 Recite & Invite
 Replay
Story Telling:
Tips for Effective Storytelling:
 Begin with familiar stories (e.g., The Three Little Pigs)
 Practice, practice, practice
 Use props (e.g., flannel board)
 Use voice inflections
 Use repetitive phrases
Circle Time: Improving Whole Group Conversations:
Children do most of the talking
 Encourage many children to participate
 Look to another child for a response
 Use praise and encouraging comments
Dramatic Play: Sustaining the Play:
 Provide more props
 Ask open-ended questions
 Help negotiate problem solving
 Model play dialogue and scenarios by participating in children‟s play.
 Observe and interact with children to monitor progress.
 Encourage child-to-child conversations
Tips for Parents on learning at Home:
Talk to your child - even if your child does not seem to understand at first.
 Talk often about what you are doing or what you see around you.
 Give you child time to respond. Eye level – Get down to your child‟s eye level and
look at your child as you are listening.
 Show your child that you are sincere.
 Observe your child‟s attempts to communicate. Appreciate any attempt to
communicate as a step towards language development.
Activities for Language Development:
 Walk and Talk – Take an „eye spy‟ walk around your town. Talk to your child and
ask about what‟s going on (dogs running, children playing baseball, construction,
shopping, etc.) As you talk your child will learn words for different experiences.
 Play Follow the Leader – as the leader, you can model actions along with language;
 “I am jumping!”
 “I am clapping!”
 “I am marching!”
 Food Talk: Eating and meal preparation are language-rich moments:
 Have your child tell you what‟s needed for lunch. Model words he/she doesn‟t know.
 Have your child explain the steps for making a sandwich.
 Have your child help you write a grocery list. Have him/her name the things in the
flyer.
Create Shared Experiences:
Recognize your child‟s interests and try to add a new element.
 Engage in a “high interest” activity – ball, windup toy, balloons, and bubbles.
 Acknowledge subtle attempts to communicate.
 Scripted play – help your child anticipate what will happen next and then wait for a
response.
Ways to Help Your Child Understand:
 Use gestures
 Show the object you‟re talking about
 Name and label people and things
 Talk in simple sentences
 Vary your pitch and tone
 Repeat
Early Errors in Language:
 One common inaccuracy is under extension –using a word too narrowly.
 Using the word “cat” to refer only to the family cat
 Using the word “ball” to refer only to a favorite toy ball
Language Errors:
Children overextend because they have not acquired another suitable word or because they
have difficulty remembering a more suitable word
Examples:
 Ball referring to ball, balloon, marble, egg, or apple
 Moon referring to moon, half-moon shaped lemon slice, or half a Cheerio
 Car referring to a car, bus, truck, or tractor
 Daddy referring to dad or any man
 Doggie referring to dog or any four-legged animal
Making Sentences:
Most children begin to combine words into simple sentences by 18 to 24 months of age.
Children‟s first sentences are two-word combinations referred to as Telegraphic speech.
Words directly relevant to meaning. Words not critical to the meaning are left out – similar to
the way telegrams were written such as:
 Function words: a, the in
 Auxiliary words: is, was, will be
 Word endings: plurals, possessives, verb tenses
Conclusion:
The ephemeral nature of talk was noted, leading to the conclusion that unlike assessment in
other domains where more permanent records of performance may be available, it is
especially important to keep accurate records of oral language outcomes. It was noted that
language development is not linear in young children and performance may vary across tasks
and contexts. Hence, development should be observed over time and in different contexts
before firm conclusions can be drawn. Nevertheless, it was concluded that care-givers, pre-
school and infant teachers can play an important role in identifying possible language
difficulties.
Given the importance of performance assessment in assessing young children‟s language
development, key principles of performance assessment were outlined including active
involvement of children in communicative situations, the engagement of children in
situations where they can use language and exchange meaning according to their purposes in
spontaneous ways, the use of multiple indicators and sources of information collected over
time, the use of assessment outcomes to plan instruction, and the need for collaboration
among parents, teachers, children and other professionals in sourcing and interpreting
assessment outcomes.
Language development in children

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Language development in children

  • 1. LANGUAGE Definition: “A socially shared code to express thoughts and concepts. Language is expressed through speech, writing and gesture. A system for the expression of thoughts, feelings, etc., by the use of spoken sounds or conventional symbols.” Components of language: Phonology: It refers to the sounds of a language. Children form different sounds before speaking; when someone tries to talk with them they produce different sounds in respond to their talks. Example: Some child simply gives smile; some child make sounds like “hook, aha, gooch” etc. Semantics: What does the word mean? They are anxious to know meanings of different new words. They create and discover new words. Parents are important for infants. The study of words and their meaning. Example: Car, Doll, Teddy bear, Dada, Mama, Papa etc. Morphology: How to make a new word. They try to memorize new words. They ask about different items placed in front of them. They ask about them again and again to learn that new word. Example: Flower, Lion, Cat, Dog etc. Syntax: How do we put words together to convey meaning, they learn how to join two or three words that make a sense. They try to form small sentences by joining different words. Example: My mom, your doll etc. Grammar: It refers to the rules used to describe the structure of a language. They become aware of the rules and regulations used in a certain language. Their language is improved by knowing this. Example: Use of forms of verb, Use of helping verbs etc.
  • 2. Pragmatics: What word combinations do we use in certain social situations? The study of how people use language to communicate effectively. They try to make large sentences. Example: „Excuse me.‟ vs. „Get out of my way!‟ LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN Infants are equipped for language even before birth, partly due to brain readiness, partly because of auditory experiences in the uterus. Children around the world have the same sequence of early language development. Newborns prefer to hear speech over other sounds they prefer to listen to baby talk the high pitched, simplified and repetitive was adults speak to infants. The sound of a human voice, whether familiar or strange always fascinates infants. Children‟s first words are used to fulfill specific intentions. They can be used for:  Labeling- Repeating  Answering- Requesting (action or answer)  Calling- Greeting  Protesting (NO!)- Practicing A Representative List of Early Words: Juice, Mama, All Gone, Cookie, Dada, More, Baby, Doggie, No, Bye-Bye , Kitty, Up Hi, Dirty, Go, Car, Hot, Do, Water, Shoe, Milk, Eye, Nose, Hat etc. Baby Talk: Similar no matter what language their parents Babbling is the extended repetition of certain single syllables, such as “ma-ma-ma, da-da-da, ba-ba-ba” that begins at 6-7 months of age. Babbling is experience-expectant learning  All babies babble  All babies gesture  The sounds they make are speak Babbling: Over the next few months, babbling incorporates sounds from their native language. Even untrained listeners can distinguish between babbling infants who have been raised in cultures in which French, Arabic, or Cantonese languages were spoken. Many cultures assign important meanings to the sounds babies babble:
  • 3.  “ma-ma-ma”, “da-da-da” and “pa-pa-pa” are usually taken to apply to significant people in the infant‟s life. First Words: Infants first recognize words, and then they begin to comprehend words. At about 4 ½ months of age, infants will listen longer to a tape repeating their own name than to a tape of different but similar name. At about 7-8 months of age, infants readily learn to recognize new words and remember them for weeks. Stages of Language Development: Students acquiring a second language will naturally progress through several stages. Given individual differences, the period of time a student will take to pass through a particular stage varies greatly, and because language acquisition is an ongoing process, stages may overlap. As the teacher of second language learners, it is important to be able to recognize each stage's characteristics and to use the following suggestions to assist students according to the stage they are in. Stage-1: 0 to 6 months. Physiological task: Silent/Receptive Stage Description of Task: First few months - babbling and cooing, 3 months - repeated consonant and vowel sounds (i.e., da, da, or ma, ma), 3-6 months - first words spoken (i.e., Mommy) Charteristics: The student needs time to become comfortable with classroom activities, the teacher, and classmates begins to understand the message but does not focus on or analyze the form responds to communication nonverbally acquires passive vocabulary will perhaps appear confused and/or hesitant. Strategies: The teacher should focus on teaching commands through Total Physical Response in which the student responds to commands nonverbally (i.e. "sit down, stand up, close your Book") use gestures and body language to act out what is being said emphasize listening skills and not expect or force the student to speak until he or she is ready use visuals, pictures, and other realia.
  • 4. Educational Implication: Vocalization with intonation, Responds to his name, Responds to human voices without visual cues by turning his head and eyes, Responds appropriately to friendly and angry tones. Stage-2: 6 Months to 12 Months Psychological Task: Early Production of Language Description of Task: One word utterances, Use telegraphic speech. Charteristics: The students should understands the main idea of the message but may not understand each word responds verbally with one or two words (may advance to two to three word groupings) begins to use words that have been frequently heard, especially those pertaining to classroom environment mispronounces words (mispronunciation is normal and there is no need for correction, provided the listener understands what is being said) Strategies: The teacher should use yes/no questions and questions that require dichotomous answer (questions which require repetition of no more than one word that the teacher has used in the question) begin a sentence and have the student complete the sentence with a word continue to introduce new vocabulary while practicing previously learned vocabulary (the student needs to hear a word many times before feeling comfortable using it) Educational Implication: Uses one or more words with meaning (this may be a fragment of a word) Understands simple instructions, especially if vocal or physical cues are given. Practices inflection, Is aware of the social value of speech. Stage-3: 12 Months- 18 Months Psychological Task: Speech Emergence Description of Task: Continue to use telegraphic speech, Sometimes use functional words. Charteristics: The student begins using simple sentences improves pronunciation and intonation demonstrates an expanded vocabulary using words that have been heard many times and that are now understood. Strategies: The teacher could ask how and why questions introduce rudimentary forms of reading and writing emphasizes to other students the importance of not making fun of or
  • 5. discouraging the student's efforts (such behavior would inhibit the student's language production). Educational Implication: Has vocabulary of approximately 5-20 word Vocabulary made up chiefly of nouns Some echolalia (repeating a word or phrase over and over) Much jargon with emotional content is able to follow simple commands. Stage-4: 18 Months to 24 Months Physiological Task: Intermediate Fluency Description of Task: Syntactic structures added include plurals and regular verbs. Apply basic rules that govern language. Talk about what they are doing while they are doing the activity. Charteristics: The student begins to use longer sentences and more elaborate speech patterns makes errors as he or she attempts to use new vocabulary and more complex grammatical structures begins to think in the new language instead of translating from the native language into the new language. Strategies: The teacher could provide opportunities for student to use the new language in comfortable situations engage student in activities which focus on speech production and not grammatical form or absolute correctness provide opportunities for student to talk about himself/herself, including desires, feelings, abilities, etc. Introduce colloquialisms and idiomatic expressions. Educational Implication: Can name a number of objects common to his surroundings. Is able to use at least two prepositions, usually chosen from the following: in, on, under Combines words into a short sentence-largely noun-verb combinations (mean) length of sentences is given as 1.2 words Vocabulary of approximately 150-300 words Volume and pitch of voice not yet well-controlled Can use two pronouns correctly: I, me, you, although me and I are often confused My and mine are beginning to emerge Responds to such commands as "show me your eyes (nose, mouth, hair)" Stage-5: 24 Months to 36 Months Physiological Task: Advanced Fluency
  • 6. Description of Task: Their talk sounds like adult talk. Knows that a word can have more than one meaning. Creative in using language. Charteristics: The student begins interacting with native speakers makes few grammatical errors has a high comprehensive level but may not be advanced enough to understand all academic classroom language continues to learn new vocabulary. Strategies: The teacher could begin to provide some grammar instruction focus on reading and writing skills continue to emphasize vocabulary – student still requires extensive vocabulary development use sheltered English, scaffolding, and cooperative learning techniques. Educational Implication: Use pronouns I, you, me correctly, is using some plurals and past tenses. Knows at least three prepositions, usually in, on, under, Knows chief parts of body and should be able to indicate these if not name, Handles three word sentences easily, has in the neighborhood of 900-1000 words, Verbs begin to predominate. Understands most simple questions dealing with his environment and activities, relates his experiences so that they can be followed with reason. Able to reason out such questions as "what must you do when you are sleepy, hungry, cool, or thirsty? “ Conversational Strategies & Peer Conversations: Conversational Strategies:  Clarify & Extend  Question & Tell  Think – Aloud Peer-to-peer conversations:  Talk about a book in pairs  Have conversations in centers  Talk about what they are eating during snack Thing to Avoid When Talking to Children:  Correct children‟s grammar or pronunciation  Demand complete sentences  Reject children‟s home language  Demand a quiet classroom
  • 7. How Do We Increase Children’s Vocabularies?  Language-rich interactions with adults  Reading frequently to children  Use of interesting themes  Incorporating the 5 best practices into your curriculum  Instruction: 5 Best Practices:  Shared book reading  Songs, rhymes, and word play  Storytelling  Circle time  Dramatic Play Shared Book Reading: Key Behaviors to Use during Interactive Readings:  Prompt to be actively engaged  Clarity & extend  Expand & extend  Explain the meanings  Prompt to use new vocabulary Songs, Rhymes, & Word Play:  Instructional framework:  Say/Sing  Recite & Invite  Replay Story Telling: Tips for Effective Storytelling:  Begin with familiar stories (e.g., The Three Little Pigs)  Practice, practice, practice  Use props (e.g., flannel board)  Use voice inflections  Use repetitive phrases
  • 8. Circle Time: Improving Whole Group Conversations: Children do most of the talking  Encourage many children to participate  Look to another child for a response  Use praise and encouraging comments Dramatic Play: Sustaining the Play:  Provide more props  Ask open-ended questions  Help negotiate problem solving  Model play dialogue and scenarios by participating in children‟s play.  Observe and interact with children to monitor progress.  Encourage child-to-child conversations Tips for Parents on learning at Home: Talk to your child - even if your child does not seem to understand at first.  Talk often about what you are doing or what you see around you.  Give you child time to respond. Eye level – Get down to your child‟s eye level and look at your child as you are listening.  Show your child that you are sincere.  Observe your child‟s attempts to communicate. Appreciate any attempt to communicate as a step towards language development. Activities for Language Development:  Walk and Talk – Take an „eye spy‟ walk around your town. Talk to your child and ask about what‟s going on (dogs running, children playing baseball, construction, shopping, etc.) As you talk your child will learn words for different experiences.  Play Follow the Leader – as the leader, you can model actions along with language;  “I am jumping!”  “I am clapping!”  “I am marching!”  Food Talk: Eating and meal preparation are language-rich moments:  Have your child tell you what‟s needed for lunch. Model words he/she doesn‟t know.  Have your child explain the steps for making a sandwich.
  • 9.  Have your child help you write a grocery list. Have him/her name the things in the flyer. Create Shared Experiences: Recognize your child‟s interests and try to add a new element.  Engage in a “high interest” activity – ball, windup toy, balloons, and bubbles.  Acknowledge subtle attempts to communicate.  Scripted play – help your child anticipate what will happen next and then wait for a response. Ways to Help Your Child Understand:  Use gestures  Show the object you‟re talking about  Name and label people and things  Talk in simple sentences  Vary your pitch and tone  Repeat Early Errors in Language:  One common inaccuracy is under extension –using a word too narrowly.  Using the word “cat” to refer only to the family cat  Using the word “ball” to refer only to a favorite toy ball Language Errors: Children overextend because they have not acquired another suitable word or because they have difficulty remembering a more suitable word Examples:  Ball referring to ball, balloon, marble, egg, or apple  Moon referring to moon, half-moon shaped lemon slice, or half a Cheerio  Car referring to a car, bus, truck, or tractor  Daddy referring to dad or any man  Doggie referring to dog or any four-legged animal Making Sentences:
  • 10. Most children begin to combine words into simple sentences by 18 to 24 months of age. Children‟s first sentences are two-word combinations referred to as Telegraphic speech. Words directly relevant to meaning. Words not critical to the meaning are left out – similar to the way telegrams were written such as:  Function words: a, the in  Auxiliary words: is, was, will be  Word endings: plurals, possessives, verb tenses Conclusion: The ephemeral nature of talk was noted, leading to the conclusion that unlike assessment in other domains where more permanent records of performance may be available, it is especially important to keep accurate records of oral language outcomes. It was noted that language development is not linear in young children and performance may vary across tasks and contexts. Hence, development should be observed over time and in different contexts before firm conclusions can be drawn. Nevertheless, it was concluded that care-givers, pre- school and infant teachers can play an important role in identifying possible language difficulties. Given the importance of performance assessment in assessing young children‟s language development, key principles of performance assessment were outlined including active involvement of children in communicative situations, the engagement of children in situations where they can use language and exchange meaning according to their purposes in spontaneous ways, the use of multiple indicators and sources of information collected over time, the use of assessment outcomes to plan instruction, and the need for collaboration among parents, teachers, children and other professionals in sourcing and interpreting assessment outcomes.