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Stages of first language acquisition

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Stages of first language acquisition


Language acquisition can be defined as the process in which most people gain the ability to perceive and understand language, for instance producing and utilizing words and sentences to communicate. Research shows that language acquisition is one of the quintessential human qualities. In the light of the fact that non-humans do not communicate by using language the term also refers to first language acquisition, hence studies more of infants’ native language acquisition.

Stages of first language acquisition

There are several stages of first language acquisition. First language acquisition involves mainly the youngsters, in almost all cases, kids’ language development takes after an anticipated sequence. Be that as it may, there is a lot of variety in the age at which kids reach a given milestone. Besides, every youngster’s development is typically portrayed by continuous obtaining of specific capacities. along these lines, “correct” use of English verbal affectation will rise over a time of a year or additionally, begin a phase where verbal expressions are constantly forgotten, and finish in a phase where they are almost constantly utilized effectively

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There are also many different ways to characterize the developmental sequence. On the production side, one way to name the stages is as follows, focusing primarily on the unfolding of lexical and syntactic knowledge:

Stage Typical age Description

Babbling 6-8 months

Repetitive CV patterns


One-word stage

(better one-morpheme or one-unit)

or holophrastic stage


9-18 months

Single open-class words or word stems

Two-word stage 18-24 months “mini-sentences” with simple semantic relations

Telegraphic stage

or early multiword stage

(better multi-morpheme) 24-30 months “Telegraphic” sentence structures of lexical rather than functional or grammatical morphemes

Later multiword stage 30+ months Grammatical or functional structures emerge


At delivery, the infant vocal tract is in some ways extra like that of an ape than that of an adult human. One can evaluate the diagram of the infant vocal tract shown at the left to diagrams of grown up human and ape

Especially, the tip of the velum overlaps with or reaches the tip of the epiglottis. The tract progressively reshapes itself in the adult pattern as the infant grows

At some point of the primary two months of existence, infant vocalizations are mainly expressions of discomfort (crying and fussing), together with sounds produced as a by-product of reflexive or vegetative movements together with coughing, sucking, swallowing and burping. There are a few non-reflexive, non-distress sounds produced with a diminished velum and a closed or almost closed mouth, giving the impression of a syllabic nasal or a nasalized vowel.

Throughout the period from approximately 2-four months, toddlers begin making “comfort sounds”, generally in response to satisfying interaction with a caregiver. The earliest consolation sounds can be grunts or sighs, with later variations being extra vowel-like “coos”. The vocal tract is held in a fixed function. To begin with, comfort sounds are brief and produced in isolation, but later appear in collection separated by using glottal stops. Laughter appears round four months.

all through the duration of four-7 months, infants normally have interaction in “vocal play”, manipulating pitch (to supply “squeals” and “growls”), loudness (producing “yells”), and also manipulating tract closures to produce friction noises, nasal murmurs, “raspberries” and “snorts”.

At approximately seven months, “canonical babbling” start to appear: at this stage, toddlers start to make some extended sounds which can be chopped up rhythmically via oral articulations into syllable-like sequences, closing and opening their lips, jaws, and tongue. According to the research, The range of sounds produced is heard as stop-like and waft-like. Fricatives, affricates, and liquids are greater not often heard, and clusters are even rarer. Vowels tend to be low and open, at least at the beginning.

Repeated sequences are regularly produced, including [bababa] or [nanana], in addition to “variegated” sequences wherein the traits of the consonant-like articulations are various. The variegated sequences are, to begin with, uncommon and turn out to be greater, not unusual later on.

For instance, each vocal play and babbling are produced more frequently in interactions with caregivers, but babies can even produce them when they may be alone.

In reality, No different animal does anything like babbling. According to Research, it has frequently been hypothesized that vocal play and babbling have the function of “practicing” speech-like gestures, helping the infant to benefit manage of the motor structures involved, and to analyze the acoustical outcomes of various gestures.

One word/holophrastic stage

At approximately ten months, babies begin to utter recognizable phrases. some phrase-like vocalizations that do not relate well with words inside the neighborhood language may additionally constantly be utilized by precise toddlers to specific precise emotional states: one infant is pronounced to have used to express satisfaction, and any other is stated to have used to explicit “distress or discomfort”. For the most part, recognizable phrases are utilized in a context that appears to involve naming: “duck” while the child hits a toy duck off the threshold of the bathtub; “sweep” at the same time as the kid sweeps with a broom; “vehicle” even as the child looks out of the residing room window at vehicles transferring on the street below; “papa” whilst the kid hears the doorbell.

Young stars often use words in certain ways that are too broad or too narrow: for example “bottle” which is used for plastic bottles; in addition “teddy” which is simply referred for particular bears; also young children use “canine” for cats, cow, and pappies as well as lambs; to add, young children use the word “kick” to mean both wings flapping as well as pushing.those mentioned overextensions and underextension change and develop over time in a woman or man baby’s utilization

Perception vs. production

Researcher’s experiments have shown that most infants can give congruent evidence of understanding a few phrases considerably at the approximate age of 4-9 months often before babbling addition. Phonological abilities development starts even in advance. The newborn can distinguish among speech sounds as well as non-speech just within a couple of month of delivery. Also, infants can differentiate between speeches in another language from their native language.

Infant early linguistic interaction with fathers, mothers as well as other caregivers is certainly crucial mainly in consolidating and establishing these early abilities, long before the infant is any of the indication of language abilities

Comparison of true bilingualism and second language learning

Second language learning is defined as learning a language, which is different from your native language while true bilingualism refers to speaking two languages with the proficiency of a native. According to the research, second language acquisition deals with the acquisition of additional languages in both adults and children unlike true bilingualism as well as first language acquisition.

Both first language acquisition, as well as bilingual language acquisition, are similar and learners should learn the accurate ways to use their newly acquired language appropriately and accurately. However both have some differences, for example, bilingual acquisition learners address the process of another language readily possessing linguistic system knowledge, its rules and addition, unlike first language acquisition. Bilingual learners start learning their second language at different ages, other than from birth, hence being able to use different learning strategies. However second language development appears to proceed in an orderly fashion in most cases



Ingram, D. (1989). First language acquisition: Method, description, and explanation. Cambridge university press.

Cummins, J. (1992). Bilingualism and second language learning. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 13, 50-70.





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