The Elements of Language

A summary of language and communication.

Components of Communication

"In order for communication to take place, there must be four elements:

1. A sender of the message.

2. A receiver of the message.

3. A shared intent to communicate.

4. A shared means of communication." (Kuder, 2013, p. 6-7).

Even though communication can be nonverbal, all of these areas must be in place in order for communication to occur. For example,

The Elements of Language

Language is very complex but thankfully linguists have developed a system of dividing language into five major elements.

1) Phonology: this includes producing the sounds of the English language. "Linguists have identified approximately 43 distinctive sounds in English," (Kuder, 2013, p. 15)

Phonology instruction in our classroom: Students will have practice with letters sounds daily through Jolly Phonics. We will go through the alphabet chart stating the letter and its sound. We will discuss ways our mouth moves to form the sounds.

2) Morphology: includes how words are formed.

Morphology instruction in our classroom: When students have reached an understanding of their letter sounds, we then begin to look at word building with through word study time. Students will begin with single syllable words (ex. over) and then move to multi-syllabic words (ex. overcome). We will do this through using letter tiles to address each sound in a word and then combining them together (using phonological skills. In addition, when we work with multi-syllabic words we will work on breaking it apart in order to easily process the sounds. *Paper form of the letter tiles and practice words based on our morphological skill will come home weekly with your child.

3) Syntax: "the study of the rules that govern how words are put together to make phrases and sentences," (Kuder, 2013, pg. 19). In other words, how are phrases and sentences formed in order to make sense? Is there a vowel(s) and noun(s) and are they in an appropriate structure?

Syntax instruction in our classroom: the practice of forming appropriate phrases and sentences will occur during small guided reading groups and during writer's workshop. During small guided reading groups, your child will receive an instructional level book where there are words based on the morphological (word study) rule for that week. Your child will work on reading the phrases and sentences accurately and fluently. They will also be asked to practice syntax rules during a comprehension discussion about the text that their small group is reading. During writer's workshop, your child will be asked to write appropriate phrases or sentences (depending on their instructional writing level). They will engage in conferencing with me two to three times a week to make sure that the structure of their words (nouns, verbs, etc.) are understandable.

4) Semantics: includes understanding the meaning of words. For example, read the following sentence and decide if the words make sense when combined: The outgoing and shy girl played kickball at recess. The focus for children is to learn how some words lose their meaning and can cause confusion when combined with other words.

Semantics instruction in the classroom: This additionally will be taught and practiced during small guided reading groups and writer's workshop. Students will be asked to reread if meaning is unclear in both an author's text and their own writing. Self-monitoring skills will be introduced based on skill level and each quarter you will be notified through your child's report card as to which self-monitoring skills will benefit your child to practice at home.

5) Pragmatics: includes how your child uses language to communicate. This includes the use of narrative form of speech and understanding and using indirect requests (Kuder, 2013, p. 87-88)

Pragmatic instruction in the classroom: The practice of using language to communicate will be implemented during our weekly Weekend Review journal time, partner and small group share times throughout the day, reading and creating narrative pieces of writing during our Narrative reader's and writer's workshop units in first quarter of school. We will also participate in narrative dialogue throughout the year with Reader's Theater during some of our Social Studies lessons.

What is Language Acquisition?

Language acquisition is how we develop language and our ways to communicate with others. Children need to be exposed and gain accuracy in all five elements of language in order to have appropriate communication skills. As your child's teacher it is my privilege to model and engage students in various types of instruction that will improve their language development. In addition, it is my privilege to provide you with school to home resources for your child to improve their language development. Please see your first links below to play at home with your child to support their learning.
Music for reading - Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Debussy, Liszt, Schumann
ABC Song Collection
compound boogie


Kuder, J. (2013). Teaching students with language and communication disabilities (4th ed.).

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Incorporated.