Cultural Influences on Language Development

Psychologists and developmental theorists argue that the culture of a child influences his or her language skills. It is agreeable that children begin to communicate in accordance with their cultural aspects. Saracho (2017) believes strongly that young children begin to recognize sounds of speech and learn the languages spoken in their respective cultures. These targeted milestones will be reached differently depending on the cultural practices and communication patterns associated with a given society. The choice of words in children can be used to describe the impact of culture on children’s language development. For instance, different cultural groups tend to use diverse words to describe the same concept (Saracho, 2017). Additionally, the pragmatic use of language differs significantly from one culture to another.

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For example, American children are known to learn through the power of verbal instruction. On the other hand, children in different African cultures tend to acquire ideas and language concepts through nonverbal instructions. The social and cultural aspects associated with a particular society will dictate how its children develop their language skills or competencies. Similarly, the culture of a child will definitely influence his or her cognitive functions. Such abilities will also dictate the level or rate of language development. Saracho (2017) indicates clearly that culture is a powerful tool that dictates how a child makes sense of his or her surrounding world. Children adopt the existing cultural scripts and symbols to develop the practiced or spoken language. This argument explains why many children will develop and communicate in languages that are associated with their cultural groups. Early childhood educators should, therefore, be aware of this connection in an attempt to support every learner’s language skills.


Saracho, O. N. (2017). Literacy and language: New developments in research, theory, and practice. Early Child Development and Care, 187(3-4), 299-304. Web.

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