Why are consonants produced when something opens?

Children's sound acquisition in first language acquisition

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. Child first language acquisition
2.1. What is first language acquisition?

3. Phases of the child's acquisition of sound
3.1. Babbel phase
3.1.1. Coo phase
3.1.2. Phase of babbling
a. What does the babbling phase mean for children?
b. The transition phase between Lall and speaking phase
3.2. Speaking phase
3.2.1. Acquiring the first words
a. One-word utterances
b. Two-word utterances
c. Three- and multi-word utterances

4. Acquisition of the sound segments in children
4.1. Simplification strategies in phonetic segment acquisition
4.2. First distinctive phonetic opposition acquisition
4.2.1. Consonant and vowel splits
4.2.2. Implication of the sound elements
4.2.3. Further development of consonants and vowels

5. Acquisition of syllables in L1 acquisition
5.1. General syllable phonology
5.1.1. Syllable constituents and sonority principle
5.1.2. Markedness in syllable phonology
5.1.3. Silbification after onset maximization
5.2. Order of syllables in the first language
5.3. Phases of syllable type acquisition
5.3.1. Phase of CV syllable type acquisition
5.3.2. Phase of CVC syllable type acquisition
5.3.3. Phase of V and VC syllable type acquisition
5.3.4. Phase of acquiring all other types of syllables

6. Conclusion

7. Appendix of tables

8. Bibliography

1 Introduction

The topic of children's phonetic acquisition in first language acquisition is more extensive than one might initially assume from the title alone. This topic has long been the research area of ​​many different scientists. From the outset, these compete with each other in the use of different terms, particularly in describing the phonetic acquisition system and the processes in which the child comes to his first spoken language. Because from birth, a child is in a community that mainly communicates with the medium of language and which also addresses the child verbally from the start. In this regard, the question arises as to whether a child learns spoken language passively through imitation or actively through understanding his immediate surroundings. The answer to this question is supposed to be provided by the present work.

In the following elaboration, the essential aspects of the child's first language acquisition and the learning of spoken language structures should first be presented. It defines what is meant by first language acquisition in order to give the reader a rough overview of the development of the speech sound system in children.

This is followed by the presentation of the various phases of acquisition of sounds, whereby it must be mentioned at the same time that there are linguists who deal with the topic "Loud acquisition in children" have employed, there are no uniform insights into the subdivision of phases. However, many linguists agree that children are forced to learn the language if they want to survive in the language community. So a child begins to acquire his world through cooing and babbling sounds, first words up to three and multiple utterances.

In section 4, the aim of this thesis is to roughly outline how children acquire sound segments. The main note here will be on the simplification strategies that a child uses when acquiring sound segments, as well as on the first distinctive sound opposition acquisition, which will also have to be explained. Then it is shown how children acquire the syllables in the first language. The focus will first be on general syllable phonology, then the syllable acquisition sequence and finally the phases of syllable acquisition.

2. Child first language acquisition

2.1. What is first language acquisition?

In order to be able to explain the child's language acquisition, it is first important to give a general overview of the child's language acquisition. First language acquisition is understood to mean "The uncontrolled initial learning of the child's mother tongue, whereby the child by no means only learns this one language, but also acquires a lot through language". From this definition it can be seen that the emphasis is more on one's own productive acquisition of the natural first mother tongue. So it's not about a second or foreign language. The child only acquires one mother tongue, i.e. the so-called . monolingual L1 acquisition, in an uncontrolled state, whereby it acquires phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic rules of a language (see Wode, H., p. 29ff).

In language acquisition, the child generally begins with the production of the sounds, the monosyllabic words, the two or more syllable words and then finally the syntaxes until the language with its complexity is fully acquired. It is a learning process that is integrated into the child's cognitive and socio-affective development processes. On the one hand, this means the interaction of motor, sensory and intellectual development processes. On the other hand, the affection of the parents or the caregivers play a role, whereby the child has an active, communicative participation in his environment (cf. . Wode, H., p. 32). In the following, the phases of the child's sound acquisition are presented and explained in detail.

3. Phases of the child's acquisition of sound

In this section there are three phases in which the child acquires the phonetic system. All children who do not show any abnormalities appear through a series of "Acquisition phases" to walk while learning the first language. In this regard, young children begin at an early age to imitate and try out the sounds of adults, most of which they see and hear when the adults move their mouths. It should be noted that the age at which children reach the individual phases varies greatly (see Piske, T., p.3).

The development of speech sounds can be roughly divided into two different phases. These can overlap. However, they still provide information about the approximate progress of a child's lute acquisition. It must be said that there are linguists who deal with the topic Childlike acquisition of sounds have employed, there are no uniform insights into the subdivision of phases. In this section we concentrate on the phases of phonetic acquisition after the child is born until the production of constant sound meaning patterns. Accordingly, one can roughly understand the following phases of sound acquisition: First, there is the Babbel phase, which in turn leads to the Gurr phase, which is referred to as the preliminary stage of further sound development (see Butzkamm, W., p.54), and the babbling phase, in which, so to speak, a foundation for future speech is laid. Second, there is the speaking phase, in which children produce certain sounds that are very easy to differentiate and understand, and when they produce their first words. Between babbling and speaking (see Jakobson, R., p.23) a phase of silence for the child advances. Individual phases are presented in the following section.

3.1. Babbel phase

3.1.1. Coo phase

This section aims to show how vocal acquisition takes place in the early phase, i.e. after the birth of the child. It is assumed that phonetic acquisition does not begin with the production of the first words, but begins at the point in time at which the child begins to scream, i.e. with the birth scream (see Wode, H., p.122).

Just a short time after birth, infants inadvertently produce very different sound chains, for example by combining breathing with tongue movement. They make vowel-like sounds that are produced by vocal cord vibrations when the mouth is open, for example. Such sounds differ from adult vowels and are considered neutral sounds that children utter when their tongue is at rest (cf. Jakobson, R., p.93).

The oral sounds cannot be clearly produced here because the speaking apparatus is not yet mature enough. Children therefore only articulate front and central vowels and rear consonants (see Hilke, E., p.25), although some researchers believe that children in this phase not only make vowel-like sounds, but one can also observe consonant-like sounds such as plosives, clicks, vibrants, nasals and liquids (see Piske, T., p.10). Partly controlled velars are even formed (see Hilke, E., p. 26).

So it is, says W. Butzkamm (see Butzkamm, W., pp.54-58)in order to distinguish acoustic signals from sound signals that can be observed in children before further sound development. Such sound signals are e.g. Contact soundsthat an infant gives off in order to make contact with caregivers such as the mother or to express his emotions by alternately gargling, clicking, whispering, etc. around the third month of life and trying to use his organs of articulation and them to explore.

The aspect that gurrs are mostly referred to as a kind of communicative exchange with caregivers is also emphasized by many linguists. Because through this sound exchange the relationships with the caregivers are established. This is justified by the fact that, according to examinations, infants recognize the voice of the mother or the caregiver (cf. Grimm, H./Engelkamp, ​​J., p.125ff). The infant then further develops its language skills and tries to communicate with the participants of a language community through sounds. We see how this happens in the babbling phase.

3.1.2. Phase of babbling

The " Cooing phase " closes between the seventh and eighth month "Slurping phase" at (see Piske, T., p. 12). It is a phase in which the child can produce all conceivable consonant and vowel-like sounds, which mainly consist of vowels, i.e. also sounds that go well beyond the phonetic material of the mother tongue. This babbling phase can be viewed as an imaginative but disorderly experimentation by the child with their own ability to produce sounds, whereby the child gains control and coordination over the organs of articulation, breathing and vocal making (Grimm, H./Engelkamp, ​​J., p. 233). It is characterized by the fact that "Parallel to the phonation alternating opening and closing of the extension tube takes place" (Piske, T., p.12).

Jakobson is of the opinion that children babble typical sound patterns that they hear in their surroundings or in their surroundings. In this regard, they imitate all the sounds that they can produce with their speech organs. This explains why there are sounds in child language that are completely foreign to adult language (cf. Jakobson, R., p.20).

It must be emphasized here that slurping differs from cooing in that it has a very speech-like sound quality. The sounds made by children are somewhat similar to those made by adults. In the cooing phase, however, the sounds do not yet resemble those of adults. Because during the babbling phase, children clearly and most frequently produce plosives ([p], [b] , [d] , [t]), nasals ([m], [n]) and half-vowels ([j], [w], [h]). The vowels preferred in this phase are the front-open, half-open and half-closed vowels ([a], [α], [æ], [e]), as well as the central vowels ([ə] and []. (see Piske, T., p. 12ff).

However, a significant step in language is achieved when the infant is able to use CV syllables[1], i.e. from a plosive sound and a vowel[2]to produce, which he largely reduplicated, e.g. baba and mama (see Butzkamm, W., p.57). One also observes that long strings of a CV syllable occur more often, e.g. [mamama ..], [dadada ...], or are attached to one another, e.g. [dabidabi] (see Hilke, E. p.25).

The preferred syllable structures are clearly dominated by CV syllable types during the Lall phase. However, other types of syllables can also be identified, e.g. VCV and CVC syllables. From an investigation[3] of children who are in the babbling phase, it has been found that there is a certain preference when children combine consonants and vowels. Accordingly, children in this phase often produce central vowels in the vicinity of labial consonants. While the front vowels are mostly produced together with the dental and alveolar consonants, the rear vowels appear with the velar consonants (see Piske, T., p. 13ff).

It seems important that the sounds produced in this babbling phase essentially differ from one another, but do not have a meaningful character, as is the case with adult language, but constant sound-meaning patterns crystallize in which the same thing is occupied with the same expression (see Grimm, H./Engelkamp, ​​J., p. 126). At the end of the first year of life, many children can clearly hear prosody and intonation typical of the target language. Overall, the sound acquisition process during the whole Babbel phase seems to be dependent firstly on the target language and secondly on the perceptual ability, i.e. the speech sound perception of the individual children, and to exert a great influence on the sound development processes (see Piske, T., p. 16ff). In the next section, the question of how important the babbling phase is for children is answered.

a. What does the babbling phase mean for children?

With regard to the importance of babbling for children, there are two controversial assumptions that try to explain the further development of sounds. The first assumption made by learning theorists is that "Continuity Hypothesis ". It says that during the babbling phase, children have the opportunity to explore the articulation apparatus and to become familiar with it. According to the learning theorists, this phase represents the practice phase for later sound acquisition and thus also for future speaking (see Wode, H., p.124).

The second assumption, advocated by Jakobson and others, is that "Discontinuity hypothesis". This hypothesis states that children produce a variety of sounds in the babbling phase, some sounds sometimes causing difficulties for the next sound development. The children then leave such difficult sounds aside and use them in the words after a long time. An example are the different types of / r / that are usually used later in the words, although they were already produced by the children in the babbling phase (see Wode, H., p.124).

Despite these controversial hypotheses, babbling represents a very important phase for children as they acquire a fundamental foundation for future sound production. In this phase, the child tries specifically to produce sounds in order to establish and secure contacts in the language community (see Wode, H., p.124ff). According to Jakobson, a child loses voice before he utters the first words. However, this assumption is criticized by many linguists and instead referred to as the transition phase between babbling and speaking. This will be examined in the following subsection.

b. The transition phase between Babbel and speaking phase

In this section we will discuss the position of Jacobson and other researchers. According to Jakobson, a child loses almost all of his phonetic faculties, i.e. not only the sounds that are irrelevant in the surrounding language, but also the sounds that are common to the surrounding language and babbling. The child falls silent, so to speak, and can no longer make some sounds. In this silence, a change in the motor functions is lost. However, a drastic motor failure of the sound apparatus cannot be proven . Because the child is definitely still able to differentiate the sounds that it no longer produces itself in the listening comprehension. This means that there is a meaningful distinction between active and passive loudness. In this context, Jakobson speaks of "Hearing mute" of the child (cf. Jakobson, R., pp.20-23).

Jakobson explains the choice of sounds, the silence and the new development of language with the fact of the transition itself. As a result, language now gains a function for the child, the structure tries to fulfill the desired function. The upheaval in silence and the build-up of the actual speech sounds is based on an awakening understanding of language in the child. Because something that was previously monologically undifferentiated sound production is transformed into a dialogically differentiated utterance. For the first time, arbitrary and meaningful sounds appear. To a certain extent, children discover the linguistic significance of the speech sounds they produce (cf. Jakobson, R., p.24-25).

Other linguists disagree with Jakobson and argue that the loss of phonetic faculties does not exist in children. On the other hand, it is claimed that the prelinguistic phases, i.e. cooing and slurping phases, and the acquisition of the first words slide into one another and are inseparable from one another (see Hilke, E. p.21). The children then begin a phase in which they acquire the first words, the so-called phase, without interruption "Phase of the first 50 words". It differs from the prelinguistic phase in that a child now has words that can be combined with meanings (see Piske, T., p.23). In the next section, this phase, the acquisition of the one-word sentence, two-word sentences and finally the three- and multi-word sentences are presented and explained.

3.2. Speaking phase

3.2.1. Acquiring the first words

As we have seen in the previous sections, cooing and babbling represent roughly phases of practice for a child's future speech. The words the child produces are often used as proto-words[4] and onomatopic forms, i.e. sound imitation, denote and consist of a morphemes. That is why one speaks of "The phase of the simple morphemes (cf. Piske, T., p.23)".

The child has so far taken a big step in acquiring sounds and is now trying to link a meaning to the sound phenomena. The first few words and babble utterances look similar. One notices, however, that the child's language gains a social meaning at the same time, since the child wants to communicate and take part in the conversation and in the social interaction, namely through a word (see Wode, H., p.124). For this purpose, it is assumed that the meanings of the “first words” will relate precisely to the actions of the caregiver in situations of need (cf. Grimm, H .: Oerter / Montada, p.532).


[1] C stands for consonant; V stands for vowel (vowel). Levelt et al, 2000, p. 239

[2] This is a combination of consonants, mostly plosives and vowels.

[3] This is an investigation of English children (see Piske, T., p. 13ff)

[4] basic words are meant for this

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