We start with a number of observations about child learning in general, about speech and language, and about how children themselves show us how they learn, before turning to children's acquisitional strategies. What makes them different from adults, as a whole, is that children are reared in adult worlds according to adult expectations.
These also teach us that children follow their own rules, and that they need plenty of time to sort these rules out. Children learn to model their behaviour on what goes on around them, be it dress codes, body language, table manners or language uses, usually first through their caregivers and later through peers in their family, neighbourhood or school.
Just as it may take years to be able to develop the fine motor skills needed for sewing on a button, it will take years to be able to use speech organs in equally precise ways. They need to find ways to make sense of their environment, so that they can engage comfortably with it.
They do this by progressively adapting the input they receive to their own emerging cognitive and linguistic abilities, and by screening out, as it were, what is as yet too complex for them to understand.
And there's nothing necessarily wrong with someone's speech if they can't say She sells seashells on the seashore by age 6, although their language ability may need checking if they don't understand what this sentence means, in any language, at the same age.
What speech and language development have in common is that they progress through stages and that their progress takes time.
Child Language Acquisition Children will come up with the most extraordinary things when they start using language. Is the language acquisition process the same for all children?
Cute things, hilarious things and, sometimes, baffling things that may start us wondering whether we should worry about their language development. All children acquire language in the same way, regardless of what language they use or the number of languages they use.
Since speech and language are independent abilities, emerging language does not reflect emerging speech in any straightforward way, or vice versa.
There's nothing necessarily wrong with someone's language abilities if they stutter, lisp or slur their words together, but these features of their speech may need correcting if they impair intelligibility beyond childhood.