Language Complied By Haley Jackson

Language is how we communicate and discover the world. Each child has the unique and inherent ability to learn virtually any language. Through this page we will explore the two forms of language, the five aspects of language, and why language is crucial to establishing our identity.

Language is expressive and receptive.

The latter, receptive language, is the way we learn to communicate. This skill demonstrates an understanding of learning. Children learn to understand someone communicating an idea/question/remark etc. to them before they can express themselves.

[Cochlear Asia Pacific]. (25 February 2015). Week 1: Receptive Language. [Video File]. Retrieved from

Expressive language is the ability for one to communicate information on their own. It is much more universal as it can be applied in any context and is critical for development.

[the McClure Twins]. (25 October 2016]. Twins realize they look the same!. [Video File]. Retrieved from

There is also five aspects of language: syntactic, phonologic, semantics, pragmatics and morphemics.

[Crash Course]. (26 May 2014). Language: Crash Course Psychology #16. [Video File]. Retrieved from

Syntax is the order of words and how those words make up phrases and sentences in a grammatically correct manner. An example of syntax is when a child confuses prepositions or prepositional phrases, a child might say, "The table is underneath the book" instead of, "The book is on top of the table".

The phonological aspect of language deals with sounds. The ability to produce and understand them. An example of the phonological aspect is a child babbling even when they know a few words. The babbles are often times filled with lots of sounds and a few real words dispersed in between.

[Saran Soeung]. (2 September 2012). child communication. [Video File]. Retrieved from

Semantics deal with the actual meaning of the words. This is where the phrase, "Its just semantics comes from". An example of this the vocabulary a child understands, uses, and can read. Each are very different from each other and grow extensively with age and education. On average most two-year-olds know at least fifty words in their listening and speaking vocabulary ("Your 2-year-old: Vocabulary building", 2017)

"Your 2-year-old: Vocabulary building".(2017, January 31). Retrieved February 06, 2017, from

Pragmatics is the way in which we communicate to inform. It is what we intend to get across by our communication. An example of pragmatics is actually expressive language when first seen in young children, even before they begin to actually speak or truly understand what others are communicating. This is as simple a cry from a new born because they are hungry or even a 12 month old taking you by the hand and dragging you to the pantry because they want a snack.

Morphemics is the last aspect of language. It deals with the structure within a word itself. There are also two subsets of meanings, derivational and inflectional. Inflectional morphemes never change the meaning of a word (Otto, 2006). Derivational, on the other hand, do change the meaning of a word (Otto, 2006). An example of an inflectional morpheme is when a child confuses irregular plurals with normal plurals, i.e. using "-s" instead of just the regular form of the noun. In other words if a child states, "Mommy, look at those deers" they overgeneralized using inflectional morphemes. Derivational morphemes do change the meaning of a word. An example of derivational morphemes is when a child completes a project on what they are "thankful" for they have started to grasp the concept of derivational morphemes.

Otto, B. (2006). Language development in early childhood. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.


Language as Identity

Language affects cognition

This ideal is most evident through schemas, which is how we form interrelated thoughts to navigate the world, that are organized through language, and thus the way we use language affects the way we think. Not allowing children to speak their native language can seriously negatively affect their cognition. If people are denied the right to speak their own language they stop speaking and thinking it and will lose their language skills over time.

L. (2013, October 13). [Student's schema for January]. Retrieved February 7, 2017, from

Language is Cultural

According to Hilliard, the Bantu language of Africa has had a profound influence on American English. Mainly due to the slave trade and the decades of oppression African Americans have faced. This is due to cultural interaction, assimilation, and finally integration. Language is one of the ways we discriminate against people, therefore it is imperative to realize the roots of our language to recognize bias.

Hilliard, A.G. (2012) Language, culture, and the assessment of african american children. In Goodwin, A. L. (Ed.) Assessment for equity and inclusion: embracing all our children. (pp. 229-239). NY: Routledge.

When language is oppressed identity is oppressed.

Language is how we expresses our identity and ourselves. If we are not allowed to use our native language, which is a form of linguicism, we being denied the chance to be our own person. This is further explained in the graphic below.

S., A. (n.d.). Pyramid of Oppression [Digital image]. Retrieved February 7, 2017, from


Created with images by Pratham Books - "Children Reading Pratham Books and Akshara" • Pratham Books - "Children Reading Pratham Books and Akshara" • PDPics - "grammar abc dictionary" • OpenRoadPR - "beans garbanzo chickpea" • donnierayjones - "YOU woke me up!" • kyasarin - "blackboard writing chalk" • ambar stefania - "tolerance"

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