New research has found that language acquisition by young children around the world is the same – helping to set a new standard for assessing language development.
A team from Charles Sturt University looked at the formation and use of consonants in children around the world aged between four and five years old.
They reviewed scores of studies on consonant acquisition in about 30 languages by more than 26,000 children from 31 countries.
One of the lead authors, Professor Sharynne McLeod from the Charles Sturt School of Teacher Education, said that, until recently, limited information has been available about communication expectations for children, especially those who speak languages other than English.
“Our aim was to determine expectations for acquisition of consonants and intelligibility for four-to-five-year-old children across the world,” Professor McLeod said.
“We found that across the world, almost all four-to-five-year-old children are intelligible to family members, friends and strangers, have acquired most consonants within their ambient language, and can produce consonants correctly more than 90 per cent of the time.”
“If families or professionals are concerned about a child’s speech, support from speech-language pathologists is warranted so we encourage them to contact a communication specialist to reduce impact on literacy, socialisation, behaviour, and participation,” she said.
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