Why should low socioeconomic status be related to problems with language acquisition?

Assignment type: Essay
Author: Lindsay Patterson
Submitted: December 2011

The relationship between low socioeconomic status and problems with language acquisition has been well researched, but is often attributed to a very wide array of factors. Researchers have predominantly investigated this relationship from a social interactionist perspective, considering the impact of factors such as maternal education levels, parental warmth and quality of paid care provision. Increasingly, there is also research being carried out by neuropsychologists who are investigating how prenatal factors such as maternal alcohol and nicotine consumption may impact the child’s developing brain.

This essay investigates a selection of the issues linked with socioeconomic status and considers how they could impact on a child’s language acquisition. The essay concludes that in this case socioeconomic status is essentially a redundant variable – there are such a high number of interacting influences which could impact on a child’s language acquisition that the label of low socioeconomic status has the potential to mask the real cause of language problems. With this in mind, the essay makes recommendations for interventions which an Educational Psychologist could put in place in order to try to address some of the causal variables associated with poor language acquisition.

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