Folk Literature: An Indispensable Tool in Child Language Acquisition and Development

Eucharia A. Eze, Daniel O. Abonyi


Researches carried out by various language development experts indicate that babies babble a lot at 3 to 6 months due to biological readiness, and not due to reinforcement. At about 10 to 13 months, they are able to utter their first words. These are followed by two word utterances at 18 to 24 months and by this time, they are aware of the importance of expressing certain concepts and the role of language in communicating with others. These developments can be achieved because these children have been immersed in a network of social interactions among members of the society. This supports the fact that society is an indispensable element in child language development. But language is not learned in a social vacuum. As verbal language is the most pronounced aspect of representation language, children acquire it through modeling and imitation of adult who expand and recast children utterances to improve their linguistic ability. It is on this premise that this paper sees folk literature as an indispensable tool in the language acquisition skill of the children in the pre-primary and primary education sector. This paper adopts the interactionist theory of language acquisition which posits that language learning results from the interaction of the learners innate ability and their language environment, especially the feedback they receive from adult fluent speakers to monitor and improve their output. The result of the findings show that through the use of some instructional devices such as songs, riddles, anecdotes and the like, especially in the mother tongue of the child at the early stage, children’s phonological, syntactical and semantic outputs are greatly improved. The study, therefore, recommends among other things that the use of folk literature as an institutional device taught in the mother tongue of the learner, should be include in the educational curriculum at the early stages of child language acquisition to enable the child acquire the full potentials of language acquisition.


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