The Key Components of Language Acquisition
Welcome to a New School Year!
The Four Components of Communication
According to Jay Kuder (2012), communication is "'the process participants use to exchange information, ideas, needs, and desires'" (6). While communicating, four elements take place:
- A sender of the message
- A receiver of the message
- A shared intent to communicate
- A shared means of communication
The Elements of Language
Phonology is the study of how sounds are organized. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound that signals new meaning. When the sound changes, the word's meaning changes.
Example: "Cup" and "luck" have the same lowercase u-sound, but so do "put" and "could" and they have completely different sounds and meanings.
Morphology is the study of the form of words. A morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning in a language. Many words can be broken down into smaller units and retain their same meanings.
Example: The word "base" cannot be broken down and keep its same meaning, but "baseball" can.
Syntax is the study of rules that determine how words are put together in sentences. A sentence has to make sense, so if the syntax in word order is off, then the sentence does not make sense.
Semantics is the study of meanings of words.
Pragmatics is the use of language for communicating. Rules govern how we use language in social interactions.
What is Language Acquisition?
- Respiration- the production of sound from the body
- Phonation- the vibration of necessary for speech
- Resonation- air resonates in the mouth and nose and how we shape them for speech
- Articulation- the use of our lips, teeth, and tongue in making specific sounds
We also acquire the use of language by what we hear in social interactions from birth to now. A child's first acquisition to language begins from listening and imitating words and phrases heard from parents and family members.
How Will This Information Be Used in the Classroom?
Morphology: In seventh grade, we have new vocabulary terms with each new short story or novel and will practice prefixes and suffixes with each new word (beginning and endings, such as un- and ly). Words mix and mingle with one another; nouns become verbs, adjectives become adverbs with the use of prefixes and suffixes.
Syntax: Every day, we will fix sentences and the arrangement of sentences (simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex). How are sentences created and follow these rules (dependent and independent clauses)?
Semantics: Teaching figurative language (metaphors, similes, personification, etc.) is a great way to teach semantics and the meaning of words. Context vocabulary is a MAP testing skill and with each new vocabulary term, the students will practice defining its meaning bases on how each word is used and the context clues given rather than using a dictionary.
Pragmatics: Throughout the year, the students will practice forming sentences and communicating in their daily writings ("Stretch Its" where the students are given a simple sentence (The kid ran.) and they have to properly use syntax and descriptive words to make the sentences longer, more detailed, and arranged with flow and order. They will also compose essays that are descriptive, persuasive, poetic, and narrative in nature.
Kuder, J. S. (2012). Teaching Students with Language Communication Disabilities. Boston, MA: Pearson.