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What 4 things does a proficient user of language have a knowledge of?

1. phonology
2. semantics
3. syntax
4. pragmatics


What is phonology?

System of contrastive relationships among the speech sounds that constitute the fundamental components of a language


What are phonemes?

Any of the distinct units of sound in a language that distinguish one word from another

e.g. p, b, t and d in the words pad, pat, bat and bad


At what age do children recognise phonemes?

around the age of 4 or 5


How does phonology differ between languages?

Each language has its own phonetic structure and its own phonemes


What are combination rules?

Combination rules allow for meaningful speech

e.g. st and sk can go together but sb and sg cannot


How do children begin to learn about phonology?

They learn to distinguish different sounds

They segment the speech stream they are exposed to into units, which eventually become meaningful units


What is semantics?

The branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning


What is lexical semantics?

The analysis of word meanings and relations between them


What are morphemes?

The smallest linguistic units that carry meaning


What are examples of morphemes?

prefix/suffixes and small words

e.g. un and ex


What is syntax?

The arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language


What is involved in understanding syntax?

Selection of a word, the tense of the word, the arrangement of words and the selection of punctuation


How does syntax differ between languages?

Each language has its own syntax - a set of rules

e.g. John hit Jim has a different meaning to Jim hit John

John Jim hit doesn't make sense


What is pragmatics?

This involves the rules about language in social contexts


What are examples of using pragmatics?

1. being polite and saying 'please' and 'thank you'

2. taking turns in conversation


What does pragmatics describe?

What you should say and how you should say it

Language is used differently depending on who you are talking to and what you are saying


At what age is the pre-linguistic period?

0 - 12 months


What is the pre-linguistic period?

The time period before children begin to say their first meaningful words


How do children bring attention to objects during the pre-linguistic period?

They bring attention to objects non-verbally through pointing and touching


What are the 4 forms of communication during the pre-linguistic period?

1. vegetative sounds
2. cooing and laughter
3. vocal play
4. babbling


What are vegetative sounds and at what age do these occur?

The natural sounds that babies make, such as crying

Occurs during 0 - 2 months


What is cooing and laughter?

At what age is this observed?

Vocalisations the baby makes when they are happy or content

Made up of vowel or consonant sounds

Occurs at 2 - 5 months of age


What is vocal play?

At what age does this occur?

The baby begins to string together longer vowel or consonant sounds

Occurs at 4 - 8 months


What is babbling?

At what age does this occur?

Child begins to produce a series of consonant-vowel syllables

They may develop utterances (ma-ma and da-da)

Occurs around 6 - 13 months


What is echolalia?

Repetition of speech by a child learning to talk

Babbling can involve echolalia


How do parents interact with their child during the pre-linguistic period?

They tend to repeat sounds back to the child

This acts to encourage them to continue making sounds


How does intonation teach children a feature about conversation?

They learn about taking turns in speaking and knowing when it is their turn to answer

Intonation denotes that a question is being asked


What is intonation?

The rise and fall of the voice in speaking

Involves the rhythm of speech and how language is not monotone


What do children learn about words during the pre-linguistic period?

Children learn that words have meaning