Child language

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Child language is a collective term for the forms of language that small children in particular develop when acquiring their mother tongue or first language . The words in this language variety are often interjections and onomatopoeia . Repetitions of syllables and sounds are particularly characteristic .


Child language can consist of words that adults quote or have been transformed by children; At least historically, this is how the affect geminations Mama and Papa came about. From grandmother's children linguistically "Grandma", simplified for Grandma and further reduced to Omama become. Examples of onomatopoeia ( onomatopoeia ) in children's language are Wauwau for the dog or Kikeriki for the rooster. Children also often pronounce their own first name in a simplified way and may keep this form for a lifetime , with appropriate confirmation from parents and peers . Children's language is usually left at the age of three. However, some words like candy have also made their way into the general vocabulary. An example from etymology is Ahn , which comes from Middle High German an (e) , Old High German ano and was originally a babbling word in children's language for older people around the child.

In psycholinguistics , child language is a subject of language acquisition research . The development of language acquisition takes place roughly in the following phases: As early as the third month, the child develops a babbling language on their own initiative and modulates their screaming. In the third quarter the first sounds are imitated ( echolalia ), in the fourth quarter individual words. In the third half of the year, words are connected with a meaning for the first time. Towards the end of the second year, the child masters two- and three-dimensional Three word sentences. In the second half of the third year, individual parts of the sentence are superordinated and subordinate and in the fourth year of life the need for temporal orientation arises. In language development, conditional thinking and the use of the subjunctive unfold.

In his 1941 work, Children's Language , Aphasia and General Sound Laws , the linguist Roman Jakobson explained that certain constants can be detected in the order in which they were acquired in all children, regardless of their nationality. This means that in the first phase of language acquisition, the so-called 'babbling period', sounds can also be uttered that do not exist in the respective mother tongue. The level of babbling then passes over to the level of becoming speech, in which some phonemes are missing that the children have already produced as babbling sounds. Based on this observation, it was found that children from all language areas acquire the phonemes in roughly the same order.

See also


  • Ines Bose, Kati Hannken-Illjes: Pro rhetoric . In: Gert Ueding (Hrsg.): Historical dictionary of rhetoric . WBG, Darmstadt 1992ff., Vol. 10 (2011), Col. 966-975.
  • Anna Winner: Small children take the floor . Cornelsen, Berlin 2007, ISBN 3-589-24522-0 .
  • Barbara Zollinger: The Discovery of Language . Haupt, Bern 2015, 9th edition.

Individual evidence

  1. Hermann Strehle: From the secret of language. Linguistic Expression - Linguistic Psychology. Reinhardt, Munich / Basel 1956, p. 78, online on Google books
  2. a b Etymological dictionary of German according to Pfeifer, online at DWDS , accessed on April 10, 2012
  3. Wilfried de Nève, Wolfgang Presber (ed.): Ergotherapy: Basics and techniques . 4th edition. Elsevier, Urban & FischerVerlag, 2003, ISBN 3-437-47980-6 . P. 387 ( Scan on Google Book Search)
  4. Ahn on, accessed on April 10, 2012
  5. Urban & Fischer 2003 - Roche Lexicon Medicine, 5th ed. Source: Fanconi / Wallgren: Textbook of Pediatrics, 8th ed .; Basel 1967
  6. Child language, aphasia and general sound laws , Essen linguistic server of the University of Duisburg