language and become
We see in Chapter 4 how Harry communicates with other people through using sounds and gestures. His sister, Georgia, is often the interpreter of his meaning. She is his advocate and, with her help, he does not become too frustrated when the adults around him cannot understand his unclear speech forms.
Research has shown that the ability to develop language is innate (Pinker 1994; Gopnik et al. 1999). Many researchers believe that other people play a major role in helping young children to develop language. McDonagh and McDonagh (1999: 4–5) state:
By examining interactions between children and their
mothers (or other 'caretakers') researchers have established
the existence of 'motherese', speech that is produced by an
adult (or older child) in interaction with a child whose lin-
guistic competence and cognitive development are perceived
Gopnik et al. (1999) note that 'Recent studies show that the wellformed elongated consonants and vowels of motherese are particularly clear examples of speech sounds … make it easier for infants to map the sounds we use in our language' (p. 130). Pinker (1994: 40) attributes less of the learning to motherese, as he points out that in some cultures, 'they do not speak to their prelinguistic children at all, except for occasional demands and rebukes' and yet the children still develop fully grammatical language. Trevarthen (2001) says that 'The word meaning is not important' but that 'When an affectionate parent talks to a baby, a rich musical quality comes into the voice.