How To Develop Language Acquisition

How To Develop Language Acquisition
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Written and verified by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 07 December, 2017

Developing language acquisition is something that all parents do, although they might not realize it. As long as your child has the abilities necessary to acquire language, this process will happen on its own, gradually but effectively.

However, if you know how, you can contribute to language acquisition with favorable results.

Language acquisition can be described as follows: Human language is a process. It originates in thought and assigns linguistic qualities to the information received through the senses.

As a consequence, most individuals are fully equipped from birth to acquire their mother tongue. Although language involves various aspects, it is generally through speech that human beings communicate.

Learning to communicate using a language in common with those around us is a challenge that we face from the first few years of life. However, the development of speech is a process that takes years, lasting into puberty.

In this sense, we first pick up the basic elements of the linguistic system. It is only later that we move on to questions of meaning, and to pragmatics.

helping develop language acquisition in children

Elements of Language Acquisition

The process of language acquisition can be divided into three basic elements: form, content and usage. Once parents are able to recognize the stage of language acquisition that their child is at, they can participate more consciously in this process.


This is one of the most difficult elements to identify, because it is completely abstract. However, we know that it develops over the period from birth up to five or six years of age.

If your child is at the stage of internalizing the form of language, experts recommend helping them to recognize some basic grammatical connections, sounds, syllables and words.


This concept indicates that the child has progressed beyond learning sounds and phonic chains. Reaching this point means that the child, or pre-teen, knows most of the range of lexical content that they encounter. That is, they know the meaning of most of the words that they see or hear.

language acquisition for toddlers


This element can take longer to develop. Establishing a suitable use of lexical systems requires advanced semantic knowledge. With the acquisition of pragmatics, the individual is ready to understand indirect forms of language, such as irony, humor or double entendres.

This also allows the child to assess whether each expression is suitable, and adapt their language to the situation.

How can we contribute to language acquisition?

Even though we have explained them separately, form, content and usage overlap at each stage. To help with the development of these phases, it is not a good idea to skip anything or move too fast.

However, you shouldn’t leave out information that could be useful for the child to take in as their cognitive abilities develop.

mom speaking to baby

Developing language acquisition

  • Talk to your baby all the time. Your communication with your child should develop over the years.
  • Use a suitable tone of voice: not too loud or too quiet, cheerful and expressive, with exclamations and questions.
  • Incorporate gestures, and make sure that your child is watching. This way, they will begin to pick up the expressions that you use, as well as your speech. Be aware of the movements of your mouth, which make sounds easier to repeat.
  • When your baby makes their first sounds, it is important to respond, repeat and engage in little conversations with them.
  • Reading a story is a good way to make little ones aware of the forms of language, and prepare them for content.
  • Even if you haven’t heard your child say words yet, they do understand what they hear, especially when you use simple expressions. Now is the time to give them messages and teach them vocabulary.
  • It is never a bad idea to explain things that the child sees around them. When you see something of interest in your surroundings, give them information on it.
  • Relating to our surroundings, listening and responding, all helps to improve the quality of our speech. Make corrections tactfully. All of these are immediate tools for developing language acquisition.

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