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Child Talk

The magic and the mystery

By three, most children can say things which have never been said before in the whole of human history.



There are three well-accepted milestones in the development of speech and language.


Chatter boxes

Most children are naturally learning one new word from one hour to the next. When the actual words are counted they say about 30,000 words a day – rather more than might be imagined.


Regularities and universals

.... there are regularities and universals which are not obvious at all, but hidden, by the hypothesis here, by the way human language has evolved.


Infinite creativity

Language is creative both in the sense of poetry and plays on words and in the sense of what is known as ‘discrete infinity.’ Children's language is creative in both senses. Both can be problematic for some children.


Curiosity and attention

Curiosity drives the child to attend to something. This may be the almost silent fluttering of a butterfly’s wings or the clattering hooves of a horse. It becomes the most interesting thing to talk about or to listen to talk about.


Meeting of minds

Children say interesting things with what seems like competent, adult-type grammar, which they are most unlikely to have ever have heard said. This may seem like a quite extraordinary meeting of minds.


Patterns in disorder

The apparent nonsense of this. Particular words are mispronounced in particular ways at particular stages of development. Why should this be?



Why should it be that developmental problems with speech and / or language are typically complex, with seemingly separate issues commonly happening together far more than would be expected by chance’?

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