Complicated Babbling

Decent Essays
Language is communication, however communication is not language. One might ask what makes communication and language different? According to Galotti, “in order for a communication system to be considered a true language, it must…be productive…and it must be regular”, with productivity referring to the ability to express ideas through legally created utterances, and regularity referring to rules of language (139). With reference to utterances, this might assume speech is a necessary attribute to language. This essay aims to examine the concepts of signing as a true language and language acquisition in both hearing and deaf infants.
We will begin by examining three major components to any language system: regularity, productivity, and semantics.
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However, babbling is not limited to speech, as concluded in the 1991 study by Petitto and Marentette. There are many trajectories of babbling, though this essay will only focus on four; 1) syllabic reduplication, 2) syllabic forms leading to first words, 3) typical age onset of both, and 4) how babbling is part of the linguistic structure of language. First, reduplicated babbling is repeated syllabic utterances such as “mamamama”, that typically occurs between 6 and 9 months (Galotti 152). Petitto and Marentette’s study found that deaf children exposed to sign language also babble through signing in reduplication “with a reduced subset of combinatorial units that were members of the phonetic inventory of signed languages” (251). Furthermore, at 10 months of age, their study reported deaf children were actively manually babbling syllables, which is around the same age that hearing infants produce such sounds, as noted above. Next, Galotti explains that around 12 months of age, infants begin to speak their first recognizable words, which are often taken from syllabic babbling, such as “bababa” to the eventual use of “ba” to refer to a ball (152). Similarly, “deaf infants produce their first signs form the pool of phonetic and syllabic types rehearsed in their babbling” at around 12 months of age (Petitto and Marentette 1495). Finally, as can be seen by this progression…show more content…
Furthermore, the trajectory of babbling to the production of first words, are necessary components to the structure of language, and deaf infants have been observed to follow similar patterns of babbling at similar ages as hearing infants. It is also important that infants are exposed to language from birth, in that the critical period of language acquisition is a factor in language mastery. Therefore, it can be asserted that sign language is a definite language as opposed to a form of
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