Stages of Language Acquisition: CTET Preparation

Every year, the Central Board of Secondary Education releases CTET notification inviting eligible students to apply for recruitment as a teacher. The exam is carried out during the months of December and July across the country. Stages of language acquisition is one of the important topics in English pedagogy. In this article we will discuss stages of language acquisition in brief.

What is Language?

The word ‘language’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Lingua’ which means ‘tongue’. it is a specific form of speech that evolved over a period of time. It is an articulated system of signs, primarily in the medium of speech.

According to O. Jesperson, “Language is a set of human habits, the purpose of which is to give expression to thoughts and feelings.”

According to Bendriya, “Language is a type of symbol. Language is a combination of various signs and symbols by which a person expresses himself.”

In simple terms, Language helps in the development of personality. It distinguishes human belongs from animals and provide them the highest honor among all other forms of life.

Functions Of A Language

The functions of language have been explained briefly as follows:

  1. Expressive Function – Language helps in expressing feelings, emotions, thoughts and ideas.
  2. Informative Function – The main function of a language is to communicate information. Any type of information is shared between two parties through language.
  3. Directive Function – Language is a means to give direction to others.
  4. Evolutionary Function – Literature is the mirror of the society. Any advancement of the society is basically its language development.
  5. Preservation Function – Through language, it is possible to transmit culture from one generation to the next. It functions as a way of transmission and growth of a culture of a community or a group.

Stages of Language Acquisition

Acquisition is an unconscious process, which develops tacit knowledge, whereas learning is conscious and develops explicit knowledge. Learning is the way we acquire knowledge through a formal way. It has to do with a more academic understanding of how we acquire knowledge and formal teaching is relevant.

Stages of First Language Acquisition

First Language Acquisition also referred to as Child Language Acquisition, investigates the developmental process, whereby children, from infancy through early school years, acquire their first languages, using words and sentences in their first language, to communicate with other people. There is rapid learning of language in the early years.

The stages of First Language Acquisition are mentioned as follows:

Stage 1 | Babbling (Pre-linguistic)

This phase occurs from around six to eight months old. In this phase, the infant begins to “babble” and makes noises that are not yet words.

Stage 2 | Holophrastic (One Word Production)

This phase occurs from around nine to eighteen months. In this phase, one word is used to convey wants and emotions. By age one, typically, children use about three words consisting of single morphemes (such as eat / mom / more).

Stage 3 | Two Word

This phase occurs from around 18 to 24 months where the child produces simple sentences. Once children have developed single word speech, they begin to pair groups of words together into mini-sentences and phrases like “I like” or “give me.”

Stage 4 |Telegraphic

This stage takes place from around 24 to 30 months. Over time, children begin to expand their two-word phrases into short sentences. They also begin to utilize lexical morphemes to make the words they use fit the sentence. Simple sentence construction (such as ‘more milk’) usually has begun by about age two.

Stage 5 | Multi-word

This stage takes place thirty months. Here, the grammar emerges and sentences formed are long and complex.

Stages of Second Language Acquisition

Second language acquisition, or sequential language acquisition, is learning a second language after a first language is already established. The stages of second language learning are mentioned as follows.

Stage 1 | Pre-production

This is also called ‘the silent period,’ when the student takes in the new language but does not speak it. This period often lasts six weeks or longer, depending on the individual.

Stage 2 | Early Production

The learner begins to speak using short words and sentences, but the emphasis is still on listening and absorbing the new language. There will be many errors in the early production stage. This stage may last up to six months and learners will develop a receptive and active vocabulary of about 1000 words. They can use short language chunks that have been memorized, although these chunks may not always be used correctly.

Stage 3 | Speech Emergence

Speech becomes more frequent, words and sentences are longer, but the individual still relies heavily on context clues and familiar topics. Vocabulary continues to increase and errors begin to decrease, especially in common or repeated interactions. At this stage, they will also be able to do some content work with teacher support.

Stage 4 | Beginning Fluency

Speech is fairly fluent in social situations with minimal errors. New contexts and academic language are challenging and the learners will struggle to express themselves due to gaps in vocabulary and appropriate phrases.

Stage 5 | Intermediate Fluency

Communicating in the second language is fluent, especially in social language situations. The learner is able to speak almost fluently in new situations or in academic areas, but there will be gaps in vocabulary knowledge and some unknown expressions. They are beginning to use more complex sentences.

Stage 6 | Advanced Fluency

The learner communicates fluently in all contexts and can maneuver successfully in new contexts and when exposed to new academic information. At this stage, the learner may still have an accent and use idiomatic expressions incorrectly at times, but is essentially fluent and comfortable communicating in the second language. It takes learners from 4-10 years to achieve cognitive academic language proficiency in a second language.


Leave a comment

Download 500+ Free Ebooks (Limited Offer)👉👉