It is hard to imagine how the human society could exist without communication – the core part of cognition and socialization. In fact, a human being starts to communicate with the first cry he/she produces. And then step by step a child learns how to speak and interact with others. During the first years of life it is extremely important to communicate with a child, to talk to him/her. By listening to you, he/she memorizes some words and patterns on the subconscious level. And when the time comes, a kid picks up everything he/she needs from his/her language storage. Therefore, parents must be very attentive to their child’s language development and spend a lot of time on communicating with him/her. Human being is such due to the ability to speak, to express thoughts by means of the language. The language is a tool that makes people’s life bright and involving. Talking to the child is critical to the development of his/her communication abilities and language.
With producing the first word, a child starts entering the society with full rights. Moreover, at this time he/she begins to percept everything that surrounds him/her differently. Everything receives its names, and a person begins to distinguish between different objects and subjects. With these first words, a human starts to learn the language without any need for formal instruction. The main thing is that a child has to interact socially – then the language development will be logical and consistent.
In accordance with scientific researches, children are most likely to produce their first words between the age of 12 and 18 months. Though, these words’ sounds have a very slight resemblance to the correct variant. During the next few years person learns a lot of new words but composes mostly simple sentences with them. The transition to compound and complex sentences takes place when children are 4-4,5 years old. At this point their psychic is developed enough for manipulating the words and word combinations. Still, child’s language development depends on many issues starting with his/her individual psychological and physiological factors and ending with family’s participation in child’s early life. For example, if parents are knowledgeable in psychology or they just read special literature, they may help their children to go through the stage of developing language easier. It is proven scientifically that the more one talks to a child in the first five years, the better language and cognitive development he/she will have.
Of course, it is quite understandable that it makes a huge difference whether a child learns to speak just on his/her own or with the outside assistance. Anyway, it is parents’ duty to make a noticeable contribution in the child’s language establishment. The recent Stanford research shows that parents have to speak to their children from the day of their birth. It is fairly pointed out: “The secret to helping your child learn language is very simple: talk together lots and listen lots”. In such a way, children develop faster. What is more, in the future such kids are likely to demonstrate better cognitive abilities. Even without the initial understanding of what they are told, children are able to percept some structures of the language and memorize them. And such practice step by step will lead to the enlargement and enrichment of kids’ vocabulary. That is why parents should not spare efforts for communicating with their children.
In fact, children are trying to imitate their parents’ language behavior. Consequently, during early ages, when the main sphere of child’s life is family, he/she uses such words as his/her parents do. Therefore, the latter must be especially attentive to the words they use not only while talking to a child, but also while communicating with each other. Consequently, if one wants his/her child to have a good vocabulary, he/she should use a lot of different words. Of course, one should avoid using obscene words and words that are beyond the literary norm. The level of language ones uses is the reflection of his/her upbringing and self-esteem. In addition, socioeconomic status of the family is quite important in the child’s language development. It is proven that families which belong to lower social classes have fewer words in their vocabulary, while children from families with higher social level know wider variety of words. Probably, it can be explained by the fact that rich people have access to more sources for obtaining some kind of new knowledge and, consequently, their vocabularies become vaster. Still, every rule has exceptions. The main fact is the willingness to grow the child well-educated and with a broad worldview. To achieve that, parents themselves have to be educated and sensible. For instance, if there are any gaps in parents’ education, but they want their child to possess a colorful language, they can read good books, visit theatres and exhibitions.
The further children’s ability to speak and communicate with other people depends on the fact how they were treated linguistically in their childhood. During the first years of life a child is similar to a sponge that absorbs everything, no matter whether it is good or bad. The boundaries must be set by parents: they should control not only what they are saying, but also the language of people with whom their child interacts. Celia Genishi admits the following: “Children learn the specific variety of language that the important people around them speak”. Of course, it is impossible to protect the child from all negative influences, but still it is worth trying.
One more important thing parents should bear in mind is the difference between speech and language. Speech is more a physical activity that presupposes producing sounds using organs of speech. The process is controlled by brain – children are learning how to correctly move the tongue, jaw, lips; they learn how to operate with their organs of speech. During this period, a child is only able to produce sounds and cries which serve like signals when he/she wants to play, to eat, to sleep, etc. It takes place during first 12 months of life. It should be pointed out that the first year is a ground for the further language development. After going through this particular period, a kid enters a more complicated stage when he/she begins to memorize vocabulary and the elements of grammar. In fact, then he/she starts to learn language as a system. And year after year children’s language improves and by the age of 5-6 years children are able to express their thoughts by the means of the language. Though, if there are some problems with child’s development, he/she may start to speak normally later. In order to know whether everything is all right with a child, parents must know what kind of language behavior is particular for every age period. Taking into account how a child communicates, adults must be very attentive to any deviations that may occur. In case of noticing something suspicious, it is better to go to the specialist in this sphere because trying to cope with the problem on one’s own can lead to the unpredictable results. During the first five years one should be extremely cautious, because if one misses something important in the child’s language development it will be very difficult to make corrections in the future.
To sum it all up, it should be said that the language establishment is not an easy question for a child. Bjorn Carey underlines: “Just as young children need nourishing food to build physical strength, they also need linguistic nutrition for optimal development of language and cognitive abilities”. It is a complicated process that consists of many stages every of which is prominent in the general process of learning. Parents must do their best in order to go through all these stages successfully. The most important thing they need to remember that it is vital to talk to the kid. They must find ways to help their child to develop language skills and possess all the required knowledge in the future. Moreover, it is important to have respect for a child. Adults have to understand all the difficulties and challenges which a child faces while trying to pronounce his/her first words and sounds. Of course, first attempts can fall pitifully flat, but everything a child does must be treated with patience and understanding. Everything needs time, practice and parents’ engagement into the process of child’s language development will lead to noticeable results.
People should remember that their ability to speak is a great gift, but for making it a real treasure much effort should be made starting from the very childhood. Communication is a particular art and every person choses his/her own ways of making this art even more beautiful and attractive. Saying the first word is like making the first stroke in the communication picture. Consequently, helping a child to make this first stroke bright is a rewarding task which encourages his/her further attempts in discovering language. That is why parents must remember that depending on the fact how they communicate with their children during the first five years predetermines the brightness of this picture. They should form a strong ground for great achievements in the future.