READ 409– Chapter 2

oral language
the spoken form of communication that has been shown to be strongly related to children’s early reading success and in predicting their ability to comprehend what they read
expressive language
requires the;sender;of a message to “encode” or to put his or her thoughts into a symbolic form
expressive language
often takes the form of spoken words or written words, but may also be represented visually through gestures, art, pictures, video, or dramatization
receptive message
requires the;receiver;of a message to “decode” or unlock the code of the spoken or written communication used by the sender in order to understand the message
the structure of language is typically divided into 6 interrelated components:

1. phonology

2. orthology

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3. morphology

4. syntax

5. semantics

6. pragmatics

a component of language that refers to sounds in speech
2 major components in phonology:

1. prosodic features


  • what we sometimes call “speaking with expression”
2. articulary units
  • elements such as;individual;speech sounds, syllables, and words




refers to how one’s voice rises or falls when one is speaking


EX: voice pitch usually drops at the end of a statement 

EX: voice pitch usually rises at the end of a question




speech intensity– the loudness or softness of spoken words


EX: when a speaker wants to emphasize a particular point, he or she will articulate a word or phrase more loudly


the time between words; note, for example, the difference between “I scream” and “ice cream”
the vowel sound and every other sound that follows the vowel sound in a spoken syllable
all sounds in a spoken syllable that come before the vowel sound
the patterns used in English linking letters (graphemes) to sounds (phonemes) in spoken language to produce conventional word spellings
alphabetic principle
knowing that speech sounds and letters link to one another
the study of word structures that create meaning
2 major types of morphemes:

1. free

2. bound

the understanding of how words are combined into larger language structures, especially sentences
a rule system for describing the structure or organization of a language
connecting one’s background experiences, knowledge, interests, attitudes, and perspectives with spoken or written language to construct meaning
schema theory
the believe that new knowledge is connected to related ideas one already knows;
speech variations associated with various regions of the US or ethnic groups– impact children’s ability to understand and use the sounds of spoken English
believe that oral language is learned through conditioning and shaping, processes that involve a stimulus and a reward or a punishment
behaviorist theory
infants learn oral language from other human role models through a process involving stimulation/modeling, imitation, rewards, punishment, and practice
innatist theory


believe that language learning is natural for human beings


babies enter the world with a biological propensity (inclination)– an inborn device as it were– to learn language


emerged from the work of Jean Piaget
constructivists theories
Jean Piaget
believed that language development is linked to cognitive development
social interactionists
one’s environment and the people in it play a critical role in the development of language
social interactionists
assumes that language development is greatly influenced by physical, social, and linguistic factors
zone of proximal development (ZPD)
the difference between what a child can do alone and in collaboration with others 
can be performed by the teacher or another student who has mastered the desired skill
analogical substitution
the overgeneralization by analogy of a language rule, which often results in using an incorrect substitute word in speech
language functions
real world and classroom-based oral language practice
forms of language: (4)

1. vocabulary

2. verb tense

3. parts of speech

4. sentence structure

language fluency
varying the ways oral language can be used
instructional conversations
involve teacher-student dialogue instead of lecture; are especially academically focused on key areas like math, science, and social studies; are explicitly goal-directed; and are typically conducted in small-group discussions 
the average number of words spoken together
mean length of utterance (MLU)
dialogic reading


often thought of as simple picture book reading, but it has a much different face


it transfers the book’s oral language responsibility to the child, who leads a dialogue with his parent around the pictures he chooses


innotation, stress, and juncture
prosodic or expressive features of spoken language include: (3)
free and bound
2 major types of morphemes
words, syllables, and phonemes
articulatory features of spoken language include: (3)
inflected morpheme

words with an added suffix or meaningful word ending


EX: -s, -ed, -ing, and -est

free morpheme

a word that stands alone and has meaning


EX: ball, peninsula, and chain

bound morpheme

must be connected to another morpheme


EX: -ocracy, -ante, and bio-

derivational morpheme

involve adding a letter to or changing letters within a word, thereby changing the part of speech


EX: changing the words rust to rusty by adding a y to the noun rust changes the part of speech to an adjective

compound words
single words created by joining two words together in various ways 

the study of how language is used in society to satisfy the needs of human communication 


knowing how language works and is used in one’s culture

3 pragmatic language functions in our day-to-day lives

1. ideational 

2. interpersonal

3. textual

Pragmatic Language Functions: (10)

1. Instrumental

2. Regulatory

3. Interactional

4. Personal

5. Heuristic

6. Imaginative

7. Representational

8. Divertive

9. Authoritative/contractual

10. Perpetuating

innatist theory
explains to some degree how children can generate or invent language they have never heard before
preverbal (Piaget’s Sensorimotor State)

0-2 years

birth to 6 months: crying and babbling

12-18 months: children repeat 1-syllable words “da-da”

vocabulary and true language (Piaget’s Preoperational State)

2-7 years

18 months-2 yrs: children become skillful at naming things in their environment, using 1-word utterances to communicate complex sets of needs or ideas; they then use simple sentences

3-4 yrs: continue using simple sentences, begin using compound sentences; they understand present and past tenses, but overgeneralize sometimes; understand concepts like few and many, first and second; and they may have a speaking vocabulary of up to 1,500 words


divertive language function

points out the use of oral language for enjoyment, amusment, and recreation– using language as a diversion


authoritative language function

focuses on using oral language to provide others with important information or to enforce rules, statutes, laws, and ordinances


this is a daily experience at school

perpetuating language functions
uses oral language to tell others about historical events that are worthy of preserving and being passed on to others
imaginative language function
finds expression in using oral language for pretend or fantasy play
representation language function

focuses on using oral language to give others instructions for performing a task successfully or directions to find a location


EX: treasure hunts

To develop high levels of oral language ability among young learners, teachers should:

1. build on students’ prior knowledge of both language and content

2. create meaningful contexts for functional use of language

3. provide comprehensible input and model forms of language in a variety of ways connected to meaning

4. provide a range of opportunities for practice and application so as to develop fluency

5. establish a positive and supportive environment for practice, with clear goals and immediate corrective feedback

6. reflect on the forms of language and the process of learning

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