1932

Abstract

Young children learn to communicate in the language(s) of their communities, yet the individual trajectories of language development and the particular language varieties and modes of communication children acquire vary depending on the contexts in which they live. This review describes how context shapes language development. Building on the bioecological model of development, we conceptualize context as a set of nested systems surrounding the child, from the national policies and cultural norms that shape the broader environment to the particular communicative interactions in which children experience language being used. In addition, we describe how children's developing sensory-motor, perceptual, and social-cognitive capacities respond to and are tuned by the surrounding environment. Closer integration of research on the mechanisms of language learning with investigation of the contexts in which this learning takes place will provide critical insights into the process of language development.

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2020-12-15
2024-04-24
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