NEW KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS IN LATVIAN LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
The paper discusses language acquisition aspects and assessment tools of Latvian language. The results are obtained in Norway grants research activity - international research project `Latvian language in monolingual and bilingual acquisition: tools, theories and applications` (LAMBA) where five research institutions from Latvia and Norway are cooperating in order to develop norm-referenced Latvian language assessment tools that are reliable and accurate. The research experience helped to improve the content of studies for becoming pre-school teachers in Latvian universities.
The aim of the paper is to analyze the study course “Child language: system, structure and norms” which includes linguistical system created by children, some elements of child language structure, the main principles in creating and using of phoneme accuracy and communicative development tests, the content of the tests and evaluation forms, and normatives of pronunciation for different age groups. Theories of linguists and empirical experience of tests` development, testing and children language analysis is a methodological basis for this research paper.
In Latvia, the large scale studies on the acquisition of Latvian started in 2015 by implementing the Norway grants research activity - international research project `Latvian language in monolingual and bilingual acquisition: tools, theories and applications` (LAMBA). Project LAMBA was original, and there was no similar research done before in Latvia. Five research institutions were involved in project activities from Latvia and Norway. There was a group of child language researchers working in different universities, at the same time there was not a special course envisage to language acquisition in any Latvian university. It goes without saying that our research experience from the Project LAMBA convinces of the necessity of very serious challenges to improve the content of studies for becoming pre-school teachers.
In training program of pre - school teachers a study course “Child language development and tools” was developed based on our findings about children language acquisition. This study course first was incorporated in bachelor’s professional study program “Teacher of Pre-school Education” in part of basic theoretical courses of the field where also subjects about the content of child’s education in pre-school are included. According to the interest of students from other study fields this course was opened as free choice study course for students in all teacher training programs.
At the end of the course studies students have two types of competences: linguistic and pedagogic. They become apparent as understanding of Latvian language phonetic system and its acquisition, phonetic transcription of children speech, and also knowledge in vocabulary development and testing by considering children developmental stages. During project the content of study course is complemented with new literature, new terminology, tests and materials for evaluation of the recordings. Study course is complemented also with the description of language development processes and corresponding samples.