How Infants Learn Language and Where? Essay

How Infants Learn Language and Where? Essay

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Throughout the first two years of an infant’s life, the infant’s mind, body, and self develops tremendously. Just within the first few “days of life, babies attend to words and expressions, responding as well as their limited abilities allow” (Berger, 2008, p. 175). Infants begin to learn “language before birth, via brain organization and auditory experiences during the final prenatal months” (Berger, 2008, p. 168). Babies actually begin their language learning process before birth; this happens during the fetal period where they are able to hear noises outside of the womb. Sometimes, mothers speak to their womb and through that, babies are able to distinguish and recognize voices and sounds. While babies do not say words until around the age of one years old, Hsu, Fogel, and Cooper (2000) states that “newborns respond to adult noises and expressions (as well as to their own internal pleasures and pain) in many ways, crying, cooing, and making a variety of other sounds even in the first days of life” (p. 168). Berger states “language develops through reinforcement, neurological maturation, and social motivation” (p. 203). Many theories sought to explain how infants learn language and where. B.F. Skinner found “that spontaneous balling is usually reinforced” (p. 171) and “every time the baby says ‘ma-ma-ma-ma,’ a grinning mother appears, repeating the sound as well as showering the baby with attention, praise, and perhaps food” (p. 172). Gogate, Bahrick, and Watson (2000) found that mothers often reinforce their baby to repeat or make sounds by smiling, laughing, feeding, or praising them. Another theory states that “all young children master basic grammar about the same age,” and “Noam Chomsky and his followers felt that langua...


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...d Development, 9, 1-16
Huston, Aletha C., & Aronson, Stacey Rosenkrantz. (2005). Mother’s time with infant and time in employement as predictors of mother-child relationships and children’s early development. Child Development, 76, 467-482.
Li, Weilin; Farkas, George; Duncan, Greg J.; Burchinal, Margaret R.; Vandell, Deborah Lowe. (2013). Timing of high-quality child care and cognitive, language, and preacademic development. Developmental Psychology. Vol 49(8).
Raikes, Helen, Luze, Gayle, Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne, Raikes, H. Abigail, Pan, Barbara Alexander, Tamis-LeMonda, Catherine S., et al. (2006) Mother-child bookreading in low-income families: Correlates and outcomes during the first three years of his life. Child Development, 77, 924-953.
Snow, David. (2006). Regression and reorganization of intonation between 6 and 23 months. Child Development, 77, 281-296

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