Child Language

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Child Language


the sum total of features of the speech of a child (mainly toddlers and preschoolers), which are conditioned by age (and the level of intellectual development) and are not directly connected with either the specifics of a certain language or with the specifics of the speech situation. The features of a child’s speech that are studied can be phonetical (the inability to pronounce certain sounds or combinations of sounds), grammatical (the limited number of constructions used, the unique proportion of different parts of speech, or neologisms that do not exist in the language of adults, such as kopatka, a nonexistent noun formed from the verb kopat’, to dig), and semantic. The semantic features are connected not so much with the selection and use of certain words, semantic series, or groups (although this also takes place) as with differences in the method of denotation. The Soviet psychologist L. S. Vygotskii analyzed the development of the method of denotation (“conceptual development”) at great length.

Frequently, child language and its development are understood on a purely linguistic plane. However, according to W. Humboldt, “the mastery of language by children is not the adaptation of words, the piling up of words in one’s memory, and their reactivization with the aid of speech but rather the development of linguistic ability with age and exercise.” The external features of child language, which are accessible to simple observation, are only a reflection of the “deep” processes of the child’s psychological development—that is, those which can be experimentally investigated; an integral part of these processes is the development of language. But there still has not been enough experimentation in the study of child language. Insufficient attention has also been paid in psychology to intercultural and interlanguage research concerning child language among different peoples. (This work was begun at the University of California in the USA.) The development of the functions of child language is an area that has been little investigated.

Russia, and later the USSR, was the birthplace of the scientific study of child language. Serious work on the subject is also being conducted in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Rumania, France, the USA, Italy, and other countries.


Vygotskii, L. S. Izbrannye psikhologicheskie issledovaniia: Myshlenie i rech’. Moscow, 1956.
Gvozdev, A. N. Voprosy izycheniia detskoi rechi. Moscow, 1961.
Leont’ev, A. A. Slovo v rechevoi deiatel’nosti. Moscow, 1965.
Rozengart-Pupko, G. L. Formirovanie rechi u detei rannego vozrasta. Moscow, 1963.
Derzhavin, N. S. “Izuchenie iazykovogo razvitiia u rebenka russkoi rechi.” In the collection AN SSSRakademiku N. la. Marru. Moscow-Leningrad, 1935.
Chukovskii, K. Ot dvukh do piati, 20th ed. Moscow, 1969.
El’konin, D. B. Razvitie rechi v doshkol’nom vozraste. Moscow, 1958
Jacobson, R. Child Language, Aphasia and Phonological Universals. The Hague-Paris, 1968.
The Acquisition of Language. Edited by U. Bellugi and R. Brown. Lafayette, 1964.
Ervin-Tripp, S. Review of Child Development Research, vol. 2. New York, 1966.
A Field Manual for Cross-cultural study of the Acquisition of Communicative Competence. Berkeley, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Authorities and community leaders have been urged to prioritise the need to develop child language and continue to pay deserving attention to language disabilities and general communication disorder for a proper child upbringing, a professor of Linguistics in Child Language and Communication Disorder at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Shirley Yul-Ifode, has advised.
On Sunday, August 20, from 9.30am to 5pm, David discusses Language Variation and Change Talks (including Q&A) on accents and dialects, the internet and texting, child language acquisition, the future of Englishes, language play and literature, and original pronunciation (with particular reference to Shakespeare).
Multilingual Perspectives on Child Language Disorders
He said that the research tracks have been divided into several categories: Computing linguistics, media, education, child language learning, and more.
Whether or not fathers, in particular low-income fathers participating in early interventions such as Early Head Start (EHS), reading to their children is associated with father characteristics such as level of education or language spoken at home (Duursma et al., 2008) and to child characteristics such as gender and child language development has not been fully explored (Duursma et al., 2008).
This study builds upon previous research by Sudha Arunachalam, Ph.D., director of the BU Child Language Lab and assistant professor in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at Sargent College, demonstrating that by age two, toddlers can extract information about a new verb from its syntactic context, even before viewing a relevant event.
A TODDLER chattering away can sound a bit like gobbledegook at times, but new research from a Tyneside expert has shown children learn grammatical tools much earlier than previously thought The study by Dr Cristina Dye, a lecturer in child language development at Newcastle University, has revealed that two to three-year-olds are using more complex sentences much sooner than expected.
Linguists from the two countries examine such topics as the syntax of presentative sentence in Norwegian and Mandarin Chinese, nominal structure in early child Mandarin, temporal reference of bare verbs in Mandarin child language, pro-drop in Mandarin-Norwegian bilinguals, and the second-language acquisition of the Mandarin Chinese perfective marker -LE by first-language English speakers.
ERIC Descriptors: Early Intervention; Child Language; Disadvantaged Youth; Emergent Literacy; Grade 1; Language Skills; Language Acquisition; Comparative Analysis; Academic Achievement; International Relations; Prediction; Outcomes of Education; Preschool Children; Preschool Education; Language Impairments; Kindergarten; Preschool Curriculum
"Emergent Literacy And Language Development: Promoting Learning In Early Childhood" is a compilation of six major essays by distinguished researchers and practitioners in Early Childhood Education under the deft editorship of child language specialist and academician Paul M.

Full browser ?