The Role Of Babbling On Child Language Acquisition

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Language Acquisition Assignment 2
Discuss the role of babbling in child language acquisition

As a child develops along their journey to acquire language, they go through several steps, of which all are crucial to the successful mastering of their native tongue. There is debate over whether the period of acquisition known as babbling is the first or second stage – Berk (1991) mentions that they class babbling as the first stage, but note that there is a previous stage before that, known as the ‘cooing’ stage; following this, this essay will refer to babbling as the second stage of language acquisition. To introduce a general overview of this particular stage, Berk (1991) explains that cooing usually develops into babbling at around 6
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However, Pinker (1994) then goes onto note that the particular sub-stage of reduplicated babbling occurs around 7-8 months, and states that the children will exercise phonemes and syllable patterns that are not specific to a singular language, but rather are seen as common across a variety of languages. Yet, Pinker (1994) does also argue that the children are able to distinguish between phonemes of their own mother tongue, which has been seen from birth, and this is seen to be more prominent by the time the child reaches the age of around 10 months. Pinker (1994) refers to this as the children no longer being ‘universal phoneticians’, and states that the children will no longer distinguish foreign phonemes.
To expand on Pinker’s (1994) argument about children’s ability to discriminate between phonemes of their mother tongue compared to a foreign language, it would be sensible to first note that Pinker conducted a lot of research on the recognition of phonemes by children. One of Pinker’s (1994) research projects included exposing native French infants to both Russian and French speech, and marking if there was any reaction or difference in the child’s state. Pinker (1994) noted that there was a marked
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