We looked at the first year here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/11/07/an-anthroposophic-view-of-walking/ and now we are on to look at the second year. My main source for this perspective is Karl Konig’s wonderful book, “The First Three Years of the Child: Walking, Speaking, Thinking.”
Konig points out that speech is something that separates Man from Animal. “Cries, screams, moans, or other sounds expressing the woes and joys of existence are not speech. Speech is not merely expression, but naming.”
Anthroposophists see speech unfolding in a three-fold manner: expression, naming, and then speaking. “The life of the speech organism begins at the moment of birth. The beginning has been made when the air current is drawn into the body and tone formation is accomplished with the first cry. During the embryonic period, this speech organism was at rest, being built up and formed, but at birth its activity begins, enabling the child gradually to learn speech as well as speaking.” The other three-fold way to look at speech is to see syllables as building the expression, words building the naming, and sentences building the speaking.
Speech is also seen as having two sides: the motor side (speaking) and the sensory side (hearing). Speech develops in a three-fold manner: babbling, meaningless imitation, meaningful reaction to the words addressed to the child.
Konig makes an interesting point on page 37 and writes: “ Though the growing baby seems to take in the words and sentences addressed to him with increasing understanding, his comprehension does not yet constitute a word understanding in its true sense….the word or spoken sentence is not of importance to him, but rather the accompanying gestures and actions, the inner approach.”
From the eighteenth month through the twenty fourth month, the child is typically in a stage of naming. Everything is named and the child is a joyous discoverer. The child also becomes what Konig calls a “conqueror” because that which the child can name can also belong to him and become his property.
The child then moves from naming into simple, sometimes jumbled sentences into the use of one’s native language. “Only in talking is the true acquisition of one’s native language accomplished, and this is possible only because the child grows up in a speaking environment. Speech speaks with the other speakers and expresses the personality of the child. Speech assumes a social character and the child grows into a language community, that is, into the community of his people.”
Konig’s last point in this chapter is to point out that speech pathologies are actually the “falling apart” of the three-foldness of speech and the lack of harmony between expression, naming and talking.