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Oral Language Development and Child’s Interactions Essay

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Updated: Sep 23rd, 2020

Oral Language Development

Children usually start their oral language development when they are six years old. The development starts with babbling and listening to people around them (Hoff, 2013). However, at the age of two, young children start talking, and their language becomes more intelligible for adults or older children. At the age of three, children usually start speaking and asking a lot (Charlesworth, 2013). Therefore, it can be beneficial to consider the way such children communicate as it may provide insights into some peculiarities of oral language development (associated hazards, obstacles, favorable conditions, and other features). The paper includes a brief analysis of the way oral language proficiency affects children’s interactions with others.

The two children come from monolingual middle-class families living in the urban area. The children are Caucasian. One of the children is a boy of 27 months (who will be referred to as Sam for convenience). The other child is a girl aged 37 months (who will be referred to as Jane for convenience). Sam is the only child while Jane has two siblings who are five and seven years old. The observation took place in the children’s houses with their moms in the room. The observer interacted with the children. At that, when interviewing Jane, her brother appeared, and she wanted to play with him. The observations lasted approximately 25 minutes. Importantly, the children know the observer, which may have affected their willingness to interact and their overall behavior.

It is necessary to note that the two children develop their oral language skills a bit differently as Jane is showing more success. Sam uses some words, but, likely, the vocabulary is not very wide. The boy also ignores the interlocutor and focuses on his activities more often as compared to Jane. Sam does not use complete sentences even short ones. He uses separate words to express his needs, wants, or attitude. He uses yes and no a lot. Instead of repeating parts of the question or provide clarifying information, Sam simply says yes or no (see Appendix A). The boy also babbled when he was absorbed by a game he invented. Sam’s phonological skills are quite limited as he does not pronounce properly many of the words used. Oral language skills are quite appropriate for his age. The boy’s mother notes that she tries to develop his oral language skills using various strategies. The woman regards her effort as insufficient as other children have larger vocabularies, better pronunciation, and so on. She believes that more interaction with peers could be beneficial. At that, Topping, Dekhinet, and Zeedyk (2013) claim that the interactions between parents and children are more important or oral language development as compared to the child’s interaction with peers. Gurgel, Vidor, Joly, and Reppold (2014) states that such risk factors as interactions with parents, social environment, and encouragement.

Jane, on the contrary, uses simple sentences, tries to provide as much information as possible. Jane is likely to have quite an extensive vocabulary even though the short observation could not help in identifying the exact number of words in her vocabulary. Jane uses several grammatic structures such as plurals (bananas), possessives (mine), and comparative forms (better). The girl is quite talkative and eager to interact with an adult and a peer. She is willing to answer questions, invite people to play with her. Jane’s phonological skills are very good as she pronounces everything intelligibly. The girl’s progress can be explained by her interactions with siblings and her mother’s effort (Morgan, Farkas, Hillemeier, Hammer, Maczuga, 2015).

It is necessary to note that children’s level of oral language proficiency has a significant impact on the way they interact with others. Morgan et al. (2015) stress that low oral language proficiency hurts the child’s interaction with peers and adults. Children’s vocabulary is one of the most influential factors affecting children’s behavior. This claim can be illustrated with the findings of this observation. Sam, who has quite a limited vocabulary, is not as willing to communicate with others as compared to Jane. Jane can explain her needs and ideas, which makes communication more effective and, thus, more pleasant for both Jane and her interlocutor(s). Importantly, Jane also asked questions to learn about the world around her. Sam was willing to play with an adult, but only a few words were used when playing.

In conclusion, it is necessary to note that oral language development has a significant effect on the way children interact with peers and adults. Sam and Jane have different levels of oral language capacity, and they can be characterized by quite different behaviors when interacting with others. Jane is more willing to play and talk while Sam focuses on playing and tries to avoid talking too much. It is acknowledged that one of the major factors contributing to the child’s success is the interaction with parents and peers.


Charlesworth, R. (2013). Understanding child development. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

Gurgel, L., Vidor, D., Joly, M., & Reppold, C. (2014). Risk factors for proper oral language development in children: A systematic literature review. CoDAS, 26(5), 350-356.

Hoff, E. (2013). Language development. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Morgan, P., Farkas, G., Hillemeier, M., Hammer, C., & Maczuga, S. (2015). 24-month-old children with larger oral vocabularies display greater academic and behavioral functioning at kindergarten entry. Child Development, 86(5), 1351-1370.

Topping, K., Dekhinet, R., & Zeedyk, S. (2013). Parent–infant interaction and children’s language development. Educational Psychology, 33(4), 391-426.

Appendix A

ECH-515 Language Development Skills

Language Development Observation Child #1 Age: 2 years Child #2 Age: 3 years
Pre-linguistic Skills
Examples of (in)appropriate cooing/babbling
nonolome, bogoloku Not observed
Receptive Language Skills
Examples of comprehension of language and appropriate responses
The child responds to the greeting by waving. He can point at parts of his body when asked. He brings the toys mentioned. The child responds to greetings saying “hello” and “bye.” She answers questions concerning her age, her name, her parents’ names, her toys. She brings correct shapes and objects of different colors correctly.
Expressive Language Skills
Examples of (in)appropriate expressive language
Inappropriate: see (instead of look), go (instead of let’s go)
Appropriate: give, yes, no, don’t, sit
Appropriate: Give me this. Help me. Let’s play. Take it. I’m hungry. Look at me.
Oral Fluency Skills
Examples of the oral language used to ask questions, respond to others, and to express thoughts or feelings
Do you go? (instead of Are you leaving?) It’s mine. (as a response to Whose doll is it?)
It’s nice. My toys are nice. I love my cat. I want more toys. I’m happy. Why? What’s that? Where?
Vocabulary/Grammar Skills
Examples of (in)appropriate vocabulary and grammar when speaking and/or writing
plane, car, cat, orange
Appropriate: toys, doll, cat, ball, at work, nice cookies, best friend, she is better, her mummy.
Interaction with Peers/Adults
Examples of (in)appropriate interaction with peers and adults for any stage of language development
The child is willing to play but ignores some questions if absorbed by some toy or activity. The child is willing to play, shows her toys, and even provides some information about them. She is also willing to play with peers. She invites them to play games.
Response to Conversations
Examples of understanding of everyday conversations and participation in conversation with one or more individuals.
Do you like pandas? – Yes.
Where is your daddy? – Work.
What’s this? – Orange, hand, arm, leg
Can I play with you? – Yes.
Can mommy join us? – Yes.
See (when addressing the observer and pointing at a tree).
What’s your favorite fruit? – I like bananas.
Where is your daddy? – At work.
What do you want to do? – I want to dance.
The doll is sleepy. – No, she is hungry. She wants bananas.
I’m three.
Additional examples that describe the stages of language development. The child calls some people by their names. He also uses “no” and “yes” a lot. The girl’s pronunciation is very good as all the words are intelligible.
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