This means that children develop listening competence before they develop the ability to speak.
Communication between parents and children combines both verbal and physical aspects. Child responds physically to spoken language (parental commands). Thus children acquire ability in listening comprehension.
The child is not able to speak for many months, but she absorbs the language and during that period, internalisation and code breaking takes place. Children are not expected to speak until they are ready; however, they are constantly spoken to.
Example: The first ‘conversations’ between parents and children are a kind of monologue.
– Mother: “Look at mommy. Look at mommy”.
(The kid’s face turns and looks in the direction of mother’s voice).
– Mother: “She’s looking at me!”
This is a ‘language-body conversation’, since the mother speaks and the child answers with a physical response.
In the same way, the learner of a second language should first create a ‘cognitive map’ in his mind of that language through listening activities combined with physical movements, just like babies do. Afterwards, speech and other skills will come.