The development of speech production
From vocalization to babbling to speech
Vocalization tobabblingPrior to uttering speech sounds, infants make a variety of sounds –crying, cooing, gurgling.All infants makethe same varietyof sounds, even children who are borndeaf.
Infants do not learn how toutter such sounds thus appear to be unlearned.Around theseventh month, childrenbeginto babble, toproduce repeatedsyllables (‘syllabic reduplication’),Examples,‘baba’, ‘momo’, ‘panpan’.
Most syllablesare of thebasicConsonant+Voweltype (‘baba’ and ‘momo’).However, someconsist of closed syllablesConsonant+Vowel+ConsonantExample:panpan.Children inall studiedlanguages produce such structure of repeated syllables.
The production of sounds usingthe intonationcontours of the firstlanguage isobviously a learned phenomenon because when infantsbabble theyfollow the intonation contours of the language which they hear.
Adistinctive pattern of pitches, tones, or stresses in an utterance.
Babbling to speech
Babbling isnon-intentional.This stage normally occursat aroundthe first year of age.It can occur muchearlier or much later.When children begin to utter words,onlysome of the sounds that they have uttered inbabbling appearin speech.
Acquisitionorder of consonants and vowels
Consonants areacquiredin afront-to-backorder.‘Front’ and ‘back’here referto the origin ofthe production ofthe sound.
Sounds like /m/, /p/, /b/, /t/, and /d/are pronounced before /k/.Vowels are acquiredin aback-to-front order./a/in /tall/ preceding/i/ (meet).
Naming: one-wordutterancesQuestion:When do children start to say their first words?There is no definite age for that.Why?Because there are individual differences.
Thesimpleuttering of speech sounds by the child, as in saying ‘mama’, mayor maynot indicate word knowledge.Childrenlearn their first word when:Theyare able to utter a recognizable speechform; andIn presence if an objector event inthe environment.
The speech form may be imperfect, e.g. ‘da’ for ‘daddy’.First words have been reported as appearing in children from asyoung as4 months to as old as 18months or older.Generally speaking, childrenutter their first word around the age of 10 or 12 months.
Some of thisdifference is related tophysicaldevelopment.Certain brain development is also involved since the creationof speech sounds.
Normally, childrenfirst use nouns as proper nouns to refer tospecific objects.
Holophrastic function: one-word utterances
Children usesingle wordstoreferto objects;expresscomplex thoughts that involvethose objects.
A young child who has lost its mother in ashop may cryout ‘mama’,which means ‘I want mama’.
Theyoung child can express a variety ofsemantic functions andcomplex ideasby the use of singlewords.The child thus usesa single word to expressthe thoughtfor which mature speakers will use a whole sentence.One-wordspeech isoften referredto as ‘holophrastic’ because one word functions as a sentence.
Telegraphic speechTwo-and three-word utterances