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THE ROLE OF CARTOONS IN LANGUAGE ACQUISITION by Moses Muiruri Mwaura

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Abstract

Learning to speak a language as it is being used in the real world is not easy. The best way one can do this is by chatting by native speaker. But in the advent of coronavirus is not always easy to find native speakers to practice with as social distance is the norm. Luckily, there are simple ways which children can learn language. Watching cartoons can be a simple, fun and entertaining way in which children can learn pretty accents and their speech littered with native sounding interjections. Cartoons provide children with more realistic conversation to listen to. Overtime, children are more likely to speak in a more natural way. According to Katie (2018) Television and Movies can help bridge the gap between learning materials and how people actually talk. This therefore means that cartoons can help children speak in a modern and natural way. If children listen to undecipherable syllable for a long enough, it will eventually begin making sense.
THE ROLE OF CARTOONS IN LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
Learning to speak a language as it is being used in the real world is not easy. The best way one can do this
is by chatting by native speaker. But in the advent of coronavirus is not always easy to find native
speakers to practice with as social distance is the norm. Luckily, there are simple ways which children can
learn language. Watching cartoons can be a simple, fun and entertaining way in which children can learn
pretty accents and their speech littered with native sounding interjections. Cartoons provide children with
more realistic conversation to listen to. Overtime, children are more likely to speak in a more natural way.
According to Katie (2018) Television and Movies can help bridge the gap between learning materials and
how people actually talk. This therefore means that cartoons can help children speak in a modern and
natural way. If children listen to undecipherable syllable for a long enough, it will eventually begin
making sense.
In the modern world, it is common to see children watching cartoons in various media platforms. The aim
of this writing is to explore how cartoons provide conditions of language acquisition. Through
entertainment cartoons, children are consciously or unconsciously exposed to language data. The
consistent hearing of correct usage on the part of the cartoon characters is part of the source input of the
child language learning and acquisition. Because children are born with Chomsky’s Universal Grammar
(UG) they have ability to learn languages according to the input parameters received (Gotseva, 2011).
When children are exposed to carton that have simplified version of language topped up with subtitles
they can be able to learn a language quicker and accurately with prowess of native speaker.
During entertainment, children can acquire L1 or Learn L2 subconsciously. Cartoons are ideal multimedia
platforms where children learn language through verbal communication, prosody and gestures. Standard
cartoons give children emotional atonement and turn-taking which are essential components before
communication. In this digital life, cartoons have become part of children's social life and they
significantly affect a child's stages and processes of language learning and acquisition. Right from when a
child begins to produce organic sounds, when they transform to babbling phrases they are in constant
exposure to cartoons. This exposure arguably shapes the vocabularies and main syntactic rules of a
child. Cartoons have peculiar features of sounds, rimes, rhythms and songs which can significantly alter
children phonological and lexical properties. Most cartoons use colours and animated objects and
characters thus very useful in a children’s logographical stage.
When children listen to cartons characters talking at 200mph, mushing out words or leaving them out
entirely can be tricky experience but reading can be even trickier children. In the evolving technological
empowered world, the media are assuming the position of a teacher/ adult in language learning. In
relation to language acquisition, cartoons can be well understood in the context of Vygotsky’s Zone of
Proximal Development (ZPD) (Ehrich. J, 2006). Consequently, a child can learn better language if they
are exposed to knowledgeable cartoon contents. The mere features of cartoons that they can be paused,
forwarded and replayed evokes Bruner’s Verbal Scaffolding concept.
Cartoons form a kinder of a ‘kindergarten’ for children as it involves music and dancing just like
education back in the Plato antiquity era. Carton's main objective is to awaken the body and soul of a
child by capturing his or her interests through ‘funny’ characters. The children's tender age means that
children's social inducement through cartoons is a very delicate stage as the brain of a child is ‘tabula
rasa’. As John Locke put, everything is learnt through the environment. Cartoons form a very crucial
important getaway to most children's interaction to the physical world. This calls for a close scrutiny of
language suitability of cartoons. Care should be taken to ensure children development in specificity
which leads to good and socially beneficial man according to Jean Jacques Rousseau
Cartoons come in varied languages and subjects. The dynamic programs in cartoons allow a child's
natural interests to take the lead. In the pool of programs, children can choose the activity they want to
follow and when they want to follow it at their convenience. Thus the children learn language by
themselves. This is what Montessori philosophy lies in “respecting the child by giving him/her autonomy
and suggesting multiple sense activities. Nowadays, most cartoons have been professionalized giving a
child a sense of practical life. The multimedia properties of sounds and images help to develop children's
cognitive efficacy in listening and observation. Cartoons give children simple ways to enrich their
languages, their favourite characters in the cartoons make a child easily imitate them making language a
natural sequence of life. Cartoons offer a cultural extension to children especially those growing far away
from contacts with their native language speakers.
Directors of cartoons incorporate characters that impress the mind of a child. This is a very positive
advantage as Dewey John said that knowledge comes to us through impressions made to us by natural
objects. It is impossible to procure knowledge without use of objects that impress the mind. This is
supported by Celestin Freinet who proposes that learning should be based on children learning interest
and curiosity. Piaget points out that a child's cognitive development depends on environmental
experiences. Therefore, parental guidance is paramount on the quality of contents of children's daily
cartoon watch bucket list. This is because cartoons have a very huge influence in the first and second
stage of Piaget’s Cognitive development namely; sensorimotor and preoperational stage (Piaget, 1952)
According to Bruner Jerome culturally invented technology can serve as amplifiers of cognitive ability
and cartoons offer the best Iconic representations to 1-6 years children. Images, diagrams or illustrations
that accompany verbal information are crucial in the process of a child’s discovery learning. In
conclusion, a child exposed to cartoons can learn any languages. This is because according to Chomsky’s
Theory human beings are born with a set of rules about language called Universal Grammar (UG) and is
the basis which all languages build upon. With minimum exposure to eternal outputs, a child can learn
their native languages as well as foreign languages regardless of their location.
Listening to cartons can be a weapon for understanding fast speech and developing a natural speaking
style. Children are good at picking characters, identify with them and mimicking their pronunciations.
This way, they unconsciously learn vocabularies and grammar structures. As children recount the events
in the cartoons, they perfect their speaking skills and become familiar with words and expressions. Their
tongue gets used to articulating the words and ears get used to the intonations and sound of the language.
Before you know it, children are fluent and eloquent in a language despite the absence of the native
speakers
From the above discussions, it is clear that the relationship between language and cartoons is an
emerging centre of interest and worthy of further studies. This is because cartoons play a very critical role
in cognitive development. They affect cognitive through informational transmission to children and
defining their intellectual adaptation. This can be summed up by Lev Vygotsky (1986) elementary
mental functions of Attention, Sensation, Perception and Memory. That is cartoons attract children’s
attention, build their sensation and improves their memories.
References
Gotseva, Mariana. (2011). Universal Grammar: A few arguments for its existence. E-Britain.
Enrich .J (2006). Vygotskian Inner Speech and the Reading Process, Queens, Australia: Australian
Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology Vol. 6, 2006, pp 12-25
Piaget, J., & Cook, M. T. (1952). The origins of intelligence in children. New York, NY: International
University Press.
http://joyoflanguages.com/learn-a-language-by-watching-tv/
Verenikina, I. (2008) Scaffolding and learning: its role in nurturing new learners.
https://ro.uow.edu.au/edupapers/43
Vygotsky, L. S. (1986). Thought and language. A. Kozulin (Ed.), Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT
Press.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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Recently created NSW Institute of Teachers (NSWIT) put the quality of teaching at the top of its agenda. The Framework of Professional Teaching Standards emphasises the importance of teachers' effective communication with their students (NSWIT 2006, pg3). The importance of teacher - student communication in learner's achievements is strongly emphasised in the socio-cultural educational theory, originated by Lev Vygotsky (1978) and further developed in modern research (Daniels 2001). This theory describes the process of teaching and learning as "much more than face-to-face interaction or the simple transmission of prescribed knowledge and skills" (Daniels 2001, pg2) but rather places stress on dialogue and co-construction of knowledge (Wells 1999). It describes teaching as strongly influenced by, and embedded in its social and cultural context and points to the meaning of teaching as the transformation of socially constructed knowledge into that which is individually owned by the learner. This type of teaching assumes a specific paradigm of teacher-student interaction where the role of the adult is that of collaborator and co-constructor. A strong emphasis is on the active position of the learner, which is essential for the development of the life-long learning skills.
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• This work, a second edition of which has very kindly been requested, was followed by La Construction du réel chez l'enfant and was to have been completed by a study of the genesis of imitation in the child. The latter piece of research, whose publication we have postponed because it is so closely connected with the analysis of play and representational symbolism, appeared in 1945, inserted in a third work, La formation du symbole chez l'enfant. Together these three works form one entity dedicated to the beginnings of intelligence, that is to say, to the various manifestations of sensorimotor intelligence and to the most elementary forms of expression. The theses developed in this volume, which concern in particular the formation of the sensorimotor schemata and the mechanism of mental assimilation, have given rise to much discussion which pleases us and prompts us to thank both our opponents and our sympathizers for their kind interest in our work. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Vygotskian Inner Speech and the Reading Process
Enrich.J (2006). Vygotskian Inner Speech and the Reading Process, Queens, Australia: Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology Vol. 6, 2006, pp 12-25