Language Skills in Children: Development, Definition & Types

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  • 0:01 What Is Language Development?
  • 0:55 The Process of…
  • 2:14 Language Milestones
  • 4:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Gary Gilles

Gary has a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology and has been teaching and developing courses in higher education since 1988.

The development of language skills in young children is a multi-step process that is both fascinating and complex. Learn how language skills are formed, important milestones for language development and test your knowledge with quiz questions.

What Is Language Development?

The development of language skills in young children, or how we communicate with others, is a three-step process. First, children must hear the words repeatedly and become familiar with these particular sounds. Second, they must make an association between the familiar words and what these words represent. Finally, once they are able to recognize the sounds and the people or objects those sounds represent, children can begin to experiment with trying to say those same words.

For example, when a parent points to herself and says 'mommy' doesn't mean anything to the child initially, but over time the child will learn that the word 'mommy' is used for one particular person, just as the word 'shoe,' 'dog,' and 'car' identify other distinct objects. By the time a child is 12 months of age, he can identify a handful of people or objects by recognizing their name.

The Process of Language Development

The development of language skills in children is a process that starts at birth and continues for several years but is most concentrated during the first five years of a child's life. In these early years, the brain is rapidly developing as it takes in and attempts to make sense of many sights and sounds. These sounds, which include listening to the speech and language patterns of caregivers and others, are especially important in the development of the child's language skills.

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