A toddler is a child aged between the age of one and three. The toddler years are a great moment for social cognitive and emotional development including language development. The pre-school age is the children that are from three to four years old. Language development is a process that begins in the early years of a child and continues throughout childhood. It is a journey that a child begins right from infancy. Right from toddler age, there are significant milestones in the development of the semantics, syntax, morphology, phonology, and pragmatics of the toddler. The language development advances, as the child gets older through preschool age.
The phonological achievement of the toddlers is more noticeable as compared to the children at infancy. The child begins making structures of sounds that make sense. They start combining words, morphemes, and clauses that are more communicative (Turnbull and Justice199). The children also repeat the words that they are aware of more and so it is easy for the adult to identify them. It is a trait that continues through to the preschool where the child engages in multiple activities and hence the adults have an opportunity to witness and hear the sounds that they have acquired. At preschool, the child has mastered the consonants unlike in the toddler stage; the child can learn more words and contextualize their speech (Turnbull and Justice238). It is because then the child is exposed to more literary through the activities they engage in such as pretend play and hence acquire skills that are more literary.
The major morphological achievements of the toddler are that they begin to combine words that they learned to make even longer utterances and also begin to use different sentence forms. The grammatical morphemes appear at this level at first since the child has learned more than their first 50 words (Turnbull and Justice207). The combination of more than one word that the child begins marks the first stage of syntax development. For example instead of saying “ball” when they want their favorite ball, they may say “mommy ball” marking the combination of words. At the preschool stage of development, the child continues to combine more than one word but instead of two words like in toddler’s stage, they combine four to five words. The child also compound sentences combining articles and uses past tense. By the end of the preschool stage at around 60 months, the child can combine up to eight words in a sentence (Turnbull and Justice244).
The toddlers acquire language skills as they grow and can be able to instrumental functions that include making a request to meet their needs and use regulatory functions such as making of commands to control other people’s behavior. They may depict a skill at starting a conversation but may not sustain it for a long time, and it is the adult that has to maintain the conversation. They may also use pronouns without describing the particular individual being referred to such as saying “he is cheating.” At the end of the preschool age, the child can make the compound and complex sentences that can be highly communicative. For example, the child may make a compound sentence such as “I told Daddy and Daddy told mommy.” Just as the case with toddlers, they may experience e some omissions in their sentences but can communicate in a social conversation.
Preschoolers just as is the case with toddlers can be able to use the principle of novel name-nameless category (N3C) to be able to match labels to objects that they are not aware of their names. They can then fast map the unfamiliar words through the process (Turnbull and Justice248). For example when you present a child with three names that they know and then a fourth one that they are not aware of and then shows four objects that go by the names, the child can eliminate the words and objects they are aware of and then attach the new word to the new object. At the preschool age, the child has an understanding of words but they require more exposure to the phrase in varying contexts to attain a full and complete understanding of the meaning of the word, which is also referred to as the extended mapping.
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