What are the main features of child directed speech and how does it help language acquisition?
The language traits that characterise child-directed speech tend to facilitate the acquisition of language. Children start their lives without language and are faced with the challenge of emerging into a world in which they cannot effectively communicate. From the time a child is born, however, they will begin to associate what happens around them with meaning. As time passes, they will begin to associate unknown verbal forms to known meanings.
Parents show a unique type of speaking that is referred to as child-directed speech, motherese, or, more commonly, baby talk for example “moo-cow”. This speech has many unique characteristics that distinguish it from adult-directed speech. One feature of child language acquisition is that children master language by making mistakes until they fully acquire the skills. This ‘trial and error’ approach shows that learning is taking place, however, phonological development seems also to depend on physical ability to produce sounds. Some phonological errors used by children are deletion in words such as “do(g)” and “cu(p)”. Although some add on extra vowels, for example “doggie”. A lot of young children change one consonant or vowel for another, known as an assimilation such as “gog” instead of “dog”. These errors show that as a child learns a word is substitutes the sound of a letter for a different one. In phonology there are a variety of features used by parents for language acquisition such as higher pitch in the parents voice, a greater range of frequencies in the tone, a slower speed of speech, clearer enunciation, emphasis on one or two words in a sentence, and special pronunciations of individual words. This is more common from the mothers as it comes naturally to them and is done in order to allow infants time to process the information being conveyed to them. Rhythm is also emphasized when talking to a child and is...
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