Child Language Acquisition

January marks the start of a new year and with that comes plans for the year ahead. With LOADS of coursework and plenty of exams and placements, my diary is already looking pretty full in terms of uni (which I must admit to being slightly excited [if slightly daunted] about). With that in mind, I thought I had better start making more progress with one of my pieces of coursework which is due for submission in March. Part of this is about child language acquisition which is a topic I find really interesting.

My interest in this started when I began to learn about it in my English Language A Level at sixth form. My teacher was so passionate about it and I just wanted to learn more and more. It’s amazing to think of how complex and clever a little child is; I truly believe they are underestimated in terms of their abilities. The grammatical processes they are able to comprehend without even learning anything is just fascinating.. (here lies geeky-Lucy!)

So for this particular piece of uni coursework, I had to collect data from a child my placement in November and then analyse this data in light of the academic material I have been taught and/or have researched. Therefore one of the pieces of analysis I am completing is to view the child’s language in terms of which of Halliday’s functions of language they use. I covered this at college which makes it slightly easier!
I also have to look at the phonology of the child and phonemically transcribe some different words that they have said. This is quite complicated to get your head around but (again) geeky-Lucy loves it!

An example of a phonemically transcribed sentence is:
heləʊ mai neim iz lu:si

It’s just like figuring out a puzzle sometimes, piecing together bit by bit the different sounds that are put together to make certain words.
{One of my favourite symbols is ‘ə’ which is a schwa, an unstressed syllable… how cute is that?!}. I’m not going to lie, it was quite stressful at first. But now that I am getting the hang of it I really enjoy it and like practising it. The biggest challenge currently is learning the 3 point descriptors for each of the sounds on the IPA chart (but I will dedicate a WHOLE other blog post to that).

If anybody has any questions about anything in this post or any comments about what I have written, feel free to comment 🙂

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