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Language Development and Bilingualism in Children Essay

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Updated: Jul 1st, 2022

Language development and its leading features are of great interest to psychologists from various countries. Understanding the main ideas behind the aspects of linguistic maturity requires a thorough scientific insight, which can be obtained during the childhood stage (Barrett, 2016). Even though there are various difficulties impeding research, such opportunities are vital for the studies on bilingualism. In this essay, fundamental traits of early language development will be discussed, and code-switching and its impact on education will be presented.

A thorough comprehension of linguistic characteristics seen in the early phases of child growth is a challenging subject. Some researchers provide an examination of such stages, stating that an individual’s learning of a specific language starts at pre-linguistic communication (Barrett, 2016). Prior to acquiring particular words and phrases, the child must show signs of willingness to interact with another person, which is a leading trait of this phenomenon (Barrett, 2016). As this stage passes, the toddler begins to grasp particular chinks of words, which is an action that starts with word detection (Barrett, 2016). The child ascertains various clusters of sounds in order to gain knowledge of syllable sequences which offer meaning. Finally, at one of the last steps of language development, the individual attains certain words, accumulating a vocabulary of meanings, short sentences, and other available information, the complexity of which increases with age (Barrett, 2016). Overall, the process of language acquisition is a highly complicated phenomenon, enveloping various actions and stages.

Bilingualism and its main aspects are one of the popular topics of psychological research. As stated by Barrett (2016), the age at which a child develops natural bilingualism may vary depending on the environment this individual is presented with. Most commonly, bilingual features manifest after the age of 3, given that there are sufficient conditions for their development. However, the author explains that this criterion is highly arbitrary, as there are no specific features on simultaneous learning of two languages (Barrett, 2016). Additional insight on this phenomenon is needed in order to present a thorough understanding of its main aspects.

A fascinating occurrence of code-switching can be seen in bilingual children. Code-switching is described as a process in which a child with knowledge of two different languages can shift between them during a conversation or in writing (AlHammadi, 2017). This action is often involuntary, as the individual tries to find a correct word or phrase for a specific context (AlHammadi, 2017). Furthermore, children might also perform this act during the early stage of acquiring grammatical structures (AlHammadi, 2017). Altogether, the process of learning multiple languages is seen in early stages of development.

Reflexes discussed might create various difficulties for young people during their education, as they might be bullied or misunderstood by other children. The impact of this phenomenon on a learning adolescent can vary depending on the circumstances, but the child’s academic achievements will likely be lowered. Finding a specific word in a language which is not commonly spoken in this person’s family is a process that requires additional time and, thus, impedes possible efficiency. Moreover, thought processes might be influenced by code-switching as well, as the necessity to switch to another language appears. The child’s decision-making might become slower, causing them to struggle during learning or in everyday conversations.

To conclude, there are various difficulties encountered by children during the language development stages. Linguistic acquisition most commonly starts at a pre-linguistic level, allowing the individual to grasp phonetic sequences prior to learning words and intricate structures. A phenomenon known as bilingualism can occur during language evolvement, presenting the person in question with an opportunity to speak two languages at once. Code-switching is described to appear in bilingualism, and it may cause several difficulties connected to academic advances and decision-making.

References

AlHammadi, F. S. (2017). Prediction of child language development: A review of literature in early childhood communication disorders. Lingua, 199, 27–35. Web.

Barrett, M. (2016). The development of language. Psychology Press.

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