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Title :

From Cries to Sentences: A Closer Look at the Stages of Language Acquisition

Authors :

Shehu Sidi Ibrahim Hadiza Ibrahim (Mrs.)

The phenomenon of language acquisition which has been regarded as a process of imitation and reinforcement has been of interest to scholars. It is a common assumption that children learn to speak by copying the utterances heard around them, and by having their responses reinforced by the repetitions, corrections and other strategies that adults provide. However, recent findings have shown that these explanations cannot stand on their feet as far as the explanation behind how children acquire language is concerned. There is hardly any doubt that children do imitate a great deal especially in the aspects of learning sounds and vocabulary but little of their grammatical ability can be explained in this way. Two kinds of evidence that are generally put forward to support this criticism are: one, there is a kind of language that children produce and which is unique to them and the other is that there is a kind of language which adults produce but which the children cannot imitate no matter the intensity of the imitation or reinforcement. This paper without delving into such a debate, explores the human child?s linguistic journey from the crying stage (showing the different forms of crying and their meanings) to the two-word stage which in this case is regarded as the sentence stage.