Social Foundations of Communicative Development

Mariah G. Schug & Tricia Striano

In: Encyclopedia of Language Development

Social Foundations of Communicative Development

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  • Children learn language with such efficiency and apparent ease that it is easy to overlook the enormous array of social mechanisms that facilitate this learning. Infants are sensitive to social cues, such as the typical structure of social interactions and the sounds of child-directed speech. Even before birth, the developing infant is learning the prosody of his or her native language and caregiver's voice. But as with many features of human development, the pathway to communication is not unidirectional. Adults actively contribute to infant's learning by responding warmly to infant vocalizations, modifying their speech to match the infant's cognitive level, and speaking in a manner that evokes infant attention. Developmental delays in children who have difficulties in social interactions further underscore the importance of social ...

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