Language Structure

And Individual Levels


The study of sounds and attributes that come from words when we speak. It is how a child figures out which sounds put together make the correct sort of communication. There are several sounds, or phonemes, that we make in the English language. Several of these sounds come from consonants and several of them come from vowels. Sometimes, some of the phonemes may sounds similar, called a minimal pair. The skill to learn the meaning of all the different phonemes and understand the minimal pairs is important in perfecting speech (Piper 2012).


This is the study of morphemes, “the smallest unit of meaning” (Piper, 2012). The two broadest types of morphemes are lexical and functional. Lexical morphemes have a meaning, which can be accepted all on its own, without the use of another morpheme. Functional morpheme relates to when a noun is plural and includes functional words, which can stand alone, but also have other morphemes attached to it. There are also inflectional morphemes that have a similar purpose to functional words, but cannot stand alone (Piper 2012).

Schoolhouse Rock Subjects and Predicates


Relates to the English sentence structure and word order. All languages use a specific sentence structure using a subject, object and verb; however, the order varies per each language. The most common order follows the subject-verb-object (SVO) patters, which is the way English sentences are formed. Other languages, such as Japanese and Turkish, follow a subject-object-verb (SOV) pattern. From a young age, children are able to demonstrate the SVO patter of speaking in a very basic form. For example, a child may say, “Want cookie” (Piper 2012). The VIDEO above gives an elementary example of how sentences should be pieced together.


The relationship between linguistic signs and the real world. All words have meaning to them; semantics takes that into consideration. It looks at the meaning of words and what they represent when combined with other words in different ways (Piper 2012).


Deals with not only the sentence structure, but also the meaning of the sentence as a whole and whether is conveys a proper message. Semantics is a type of pragmatics that focuses on the meaning of words rather than the sentence (Piper 2012).


Piper, T. (2012). Making Meaning, Making Sense: Children’s Early Language Learning. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education.

WritingClass. (2009, April 11). Schoolhouse Rock Subjects and Predicates. [Video File]. Retrieved from: