In this chapter we discuss why children are interested in speaking and what drives them to learn spoken language. We also look at why children can effortlessly recognize, understand, and even produce novel words. Specifically, we examine the role of communication partners and certain communication scenarios between a child and their communication partner. We discuss two early phases of speech learning, the babbling phase and the imitation phase. At the end of the chapter, we introduce neural learning mechanisms (supervised learning, reinforcement learning, self-supervised learning) and briefly describe developmental language and speech disorders.
Speech acquisition Learning Babbling phase Imitation phase Child-caretaker interaction Communication process
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