There are Two Ways to Develop Language
There are two ways a child can learn language. An understanding of both allows those in a child’s life to better understand and support a child’s language development. Children can be analytic language processors or gestalt language processors.
An analytic language processor is a child who might first babble and then learn single words. After learning enough single words, the child then begins to combine words to produce two-word phrases and eventually sentences. A child’s first words might include mommy, daddy, ball, and up. After learning enough single words, the child may then start to produce phrases such as mommy up or daddy ball.
Gestalt language processors are children who learn language by initially producing scripts or chunks of language. The chucks a child uses in gestalt language development are often rich in intonation and may be sourced from adults, television shows, books, etc. Examples of the first scripts or chunks a gestalt language processor might produce include; We all fall down or Round and round. Children who are gestalt language processors do not initially identify single words as being meaningful. Sometimes they can work through various stages of language development to understand that their chunks of language can be broken up and used in more flexible ways. Other times, support from a speech therapist may be helpful to support a gestalt language processor in working through the stages of gestalt language development.