Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Child Language Acquisition - mini-investigation

And here's a quick one in a 1b style for CLA.

Explain the methodology you would use to investigate how children acquire the sounds of English.

Remember to follow the 5 point plan as laid out below:
  • AIM/ANGLE
  • METHOD of DATA COLLECTION
  • FRAMEWORK for ANALYSING YOUR DATA
  • CONSIDERATION of EXTRA LINGUISTIC VARIABLES/ VALIDITY/ ETHICS
  • WHAT YOU EXPECT to FIND

2 comments:

Rita Ellouise said...

Im gessing the question just means learn to speak?..
Aim: To find out how small children develop their vocabulary and learn to speak English.
Method: To find a small sample of 3 and four year olds (because this is the age just before nursery)and conduct a language experiment by assessing the type of stimulus they receive at home (tv, songs,books) and how their immediate family communicate with them, and then conduct a few games with them and give them simple oral instructions that aim to see how well they understand and communicate or show them a cartoon or act out a scene and get them to describe it etc..
Framework: use video camera or voice recorders to record they experiments.. record words that are used frequently across the board.. and compare their different homelife and stimuli things that they say and conversations that they have with me.. but use the same language to communicate with each child.
ELV: use children from different social and economic backgrounds (just to see whether they still acquire language in similar ways). make sure there is parental consent and that they are present during the experiments (observers paradox cannot really be taken into consideration because children are less self conscious anyway). Give each child same amount of time.. etc
Findings: I expect to find that they communicate similarly, and that the children with more positive stimuli have more vocab at this time and understand more.. they acquire lang. through being spoken to at home.. reading.. television with real words as opposed to squeaky noises..

Dan said...

The methodology sounds pretty good, but if it's asking for acquisition of "sounds of English" you're being asked to focus on phonological rather than lexical development. So instead of looking for vocabulary development, identify a particular feature of phonology - deletion, substitution, consonant cluster reduction, unstressed syllable deletion, addition, assimilation - and note the differences.

Also, as this qu isn't specifically asking you about interaction, you don't have to compare children receiving different types of input; you could just do a longitudinal study on one or two children and see how the phonological feature changes over time.