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    History of linguistics: to speak like a child

    Hellal, Paula (2009) History of linguistics: to speak like a child. History Today 59 (10), ISSN 0018-2753.

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    Abstract

    The 21st century has seen an upsurge in interest in the speech of young children. Government reports, educational policies, newspaper articles and the ‘Talk to Your Baby’ campaign established in 2003 by the National Literacy Trust reflect growing concern that a significant minority of Britain’s children are starting school with poorly developed speaking and listening skills. Poor communication within families attributed to current lifestyles is usually held to blame. Much recent discussion concerns remedial strategies to be carried out at school to encourage young children to listen and talk. Interest in children’s developing language skills is not a recent phenomenon. Charles West, founder of Britain’s first paediatric hospital, Great Ormond Street in London, wrote extensively throughout a long, productive life on the treatment and prevention of disease in childhood, but he broke new ground in 1871. Almost 20 years after the opening of Great Ormond Street, West gave the Royal College of Physicians’ Lumleian Lecture. He used the opportunity to focus attention on a hitherto neglected area: the loss or impairment of language in the child, pointing out that: ‘Few things cause so much anxiety as when the time passes at which the infant usually begins to talk, and the mother waits on in mournful expectation for the sounds which are to prove her little one’s right to full citizenship.’

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Applied Linguistics and Communication
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2013 16:31
    Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 12:01
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/6373

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