Scientific Methods As Applied To Child Education In "the Children's Houses"

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LANGUAGE IN CHILDHOOD              315
This is the first stage of spoken language, which has its own beginning and its own development, leading, through the perceptions, to the perfecting of the primor­dial mechanism of the language itself; and at this stage precisely is established what we call articulate language, which will later be the means which the adult will have at his disposal to express his own thoughts, and which the adult will have great difficulty in perfecting or correcting when it has once been established: in fact a high stage of culture sometimes accompanies an imperfect articulate language which prevents the aesthetic expression of one's thought.
The development of articulate language takes place in the period between the age of two and the age of seven: the age of perceptions in which the attention of the child is spontaneously turned towards external objects, and the memory is particularly tenacious. It is the age also of motility in which all the psycho-motor channels are be­coming permeable and the muscular mechanisms establish themselves. In this period of life by the mysterious bond between the auditory channel and the motor channel of the spoken language it would seem that the auditory per­ceptions have the direct power of provoking the compli­cated movements of articulate speech which develop in­stinctively after such stimuli as if awaking from the slumber of heredity. It is well known that it is only at this age that it is possible to acquire all the characteristic modulations of a language which it would be vain to attempt to establish later. The mother tongue alone is well pronounced because it was established in the period of childhood; and the adult who learns to speak a new language must bring to it the imperfections characteristic of the foreigner's speech: only children who under the
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