One of the most interesting questions is, ‘How do humans acquire language skills?’ As with attempts to define language, there is no unanimously accepted explanation of language acquisition. However, in order to provide an oversight, we consider five theories: probability, imitation, cognition, social interaction, and innate ability.
Language content refers to the topics and ideas that are encoded in linguistic messages. We all talk about the same things: objects, relationships between objects, and relationships between events. Content is, therefore, general and independent of any particular context. In contrast, topic is variable and changes with age, as well as culture. Language content is akin to semantics.
Typically-developing children follow a chronological sequence of maturation: their development advancing developmental milestones. Language delay is the failure to develop language capabilities at the expected time. There may be receptive language delay or expressive language delay, or these may co-occur. Milestones such as mean length of utterance (MLU), intelligibility, language comprehension, receptive and expressive vocabulary and development of morphology can be used to judge language development. This article also cites a number of causes of language delay.
Linguistic ability is the ability to manipulate symbols, specifically the arbitrary symbols that we call words, in order to create meaning. The developing child does not, of course, acquire this ability all at once. The process of language development may be considered as a series of alternating periods of rapid growth accompanied by periods of calm or consolidation. There are several stages, each incorporating different behaviors, which may be seen as precursors to the acquisition of full linguistic ability. These stages are typically divided into two categories: (1) pre-linguistic, and (2) linguistic.
Language form refers to the surface features of language and how these are arranged according to the grammar of the language. As a means of connecting sound with meaning, it incorporates morphology, syntax and phonology.
Transmission of language (our thoughts, feelings, ideas) is carried out using three main methods: speech, writing and signing.
Language use refers to the reasons why people communicate – the function of language. In addition it refers to how people both understand and choose from among alternative linguistic forms in order to reach their goals – the context of language. Language use is akin to pragmatics.
Using ‘and’ as a connector is one of the most pervasive ways children extend their utterances beyond the Two and Three Word Stages. It is used creatively for a variety of reasons. Between 25-35 months at least four functions develop: additive, temporal, causal and adversative. There is a cumulative effect to using these functions, each function being dependent upon the function that precedes it.