Semantic & Pragmatic Development

January 9, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Psychology, Cognitive Psychology
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Semantic & Pragmatic Development Ratnawati Graduate Program State University of Semarang

• Discussing in greater detail about the ability to use language explicitly and appropriately entail.

• Exploring the interrelationship of cognitive growth, social growth and all three areas of language development.

Questions: 1. What are the key characteristics of preschool semantic and pragmatic development? 2. In what way are semantics, pragmatic, and language form developments related?

Introduction Semantic and pragmatic growth in early years is an important foundation for language development in the school years. Formal education will build upon this foundation to help children and adolescents further develop their language knowledge and skills for a wider range of topics and situations, particularly formal and academic ones.


*Semantic Development

is characterized by the acquisition of vocabulary and the ability to understand interrelationship between words and their relationship to abstract concepts.


children learn some of the early irregular past morphemes as the individual words before figuring out that there are different forms for the same words. Broke went

break, broken

go, gone


Syntagmatic-Paradigmatic Shift Relational Terms

Figurative Language Word Definition

Key features of Semantic Development

This shift begins in preschool and is a slow process continuing into school age and adulthood.

Involving the change of syntagmatic and paradigmatic associations.


Paradigmatic Shift

*It take place when the speaker has to choose words that can be strung together in logical and grammatical sequences.


children first learn language, they select words according to their syntagmatic associations. Daddy make Maisy’s milk.

Speaker selected each word according to the function it has in the utterance.


*happens when

the speaker need to decide the most appropriate or accurate words to use out of a number of possibilities.


happens when as the child develops, another system of word associations begin to emerge.

* Words are related to one another based on some shared common characteristics, these words belong to the same semantic class.

*Example: big, huge, large.


Relational Terms • An important characteristic of semantic development is children increasing ability to relate words to their knowledge of their world. • Very young children use words to express concepts that they have already grasped through experience.

• words that are part of their everyday routine are acquired early: bread, water, milk

 Bread, milk, water  Water, soap, bubbles, towel, • Children understand the meaning easily because these words describing tangible objects. • Other types of relational terms that children gradually acquire are about spatial relations, physical relations, temporal relations and interrogatives.

• Simple locational prepositions ‘in’ and ‘on’ are some of the earliest words children learn for expressing spatial relations. • Physical relations also include concepts that vary in complexity. Children normally learn words that contrast size and length first.

• e. g: big/small, long/short

• They can use these words appropriately when describing objects • e.g: big eyes, short train.

• Children also begin to learn about words that express specific concept such as cold, warm, and hot

Temporal relations • Children start acquiring terms for temporal relations later than terms about location and physical relations.

• Three phases of acquisition sequencing (after and before)

duration (since and until)

simultaneous actions (while and as)

Interrogatives • Children follow a predictable order when producing questions using ‘wh’ words. This order is dependent on a child’s development in the related concepts. • Example 11 p. 106 P : When did you do a poo poo? C : Yes, in my nappy. Child may still not be able to answer a questions about time of event

Example 12 p.106 P : Why don’t you like your bed? C: ‘cause it is small. P: Why don’t you like it small? C: Because I like it bigger. I’m a big girl. She is able to answer most ’why’ questions appropriately and begun to ask this type of question herself. Example 14, p.106 C: Which color balloon do you want? ‘Which’ also used correctly to indicate choice

Figurative Language

Figurative Language • Children often use language in amazingly creative ways, describing something metaphorically or comparing it to another thing by means of a simile. • The ability to use language creatively to communicate imaginative or literal meaning is an important aspect of decontextualized language skill, which has an important role in children’s school literacy development.

• Example 14 p.106 Child (hanging down from the side of her bed) “ I’m hanging upside down like a bat, Mummy, I’m a bat”

• However, their metaphors and similes are not always conventional ones. • Example 16 p.106 Child (to mother after she stops the car suddenly at a traffic light) “Careful! Don’t break the car!”

Word Definition An indication of child’s language development is the way they define the words, particularly nouns. Children have a basic understanding of a referent of a word, but what is generally missing is the ability to make wider connection between that referent and other words and concepts.

Example 21, p. 108 Child (pointing a wooden toy bicycle in her picture book): What is this Mummy?

P: It’s a bicycle C: This isn’t biccyle P: Isn’t it? C: No pedals.

The child rejects the wooden toy bicycle because it does not have pedals, which are clearly essential functional and physical properties of a bicycle. Bicycle is something that we pedal to get it to move

Pragmatic Development Understanding & expressing Intensions Introducing, maintaining and closing a topic

Sharing and adapting to listeners’ perspectives Organizing extended discourse

* Understanding

& expressing Intensions

*Children understand and express simple pragmatic intentions from as young as a few months.


the ages of 1.5 and 5 years old, children become better at understanding speech acts, while at the same time they learn to do the following: exclaim, name, offer, greet, ask for information, make direct and indirect requests, express wants, ask questions, accompany action with language, prohibit, protest, demand, command, request permission, make suggestions, give reasons, negotiate and express attitude

*Using language to accompany an action is considered an early sign o pragmatic development (Wells, 1985)


can tell if children understand the functions of utterances by their actions and by their contingent responses. *A contingent response is a response that is relevant to a previous utterance. Example 30 p. 111 *P : Do you think Daddy would like some grapes? *(Child picks up a grape and puts it in her father’s plate)



children normally introduce a topic through a direct question (what is this?), an imperative (Look at this), or declarative sentence about a topic they have chosen (Vivian is my friend).

*They assume that their listeners share the same referent, which may not always be the case.

*As a result, some of their utterances may sound abrupt

*Introducing, maintaining

and closing a topic


children may use a pre-question (Do you know…) to establish whether their listener shares the same background knowledge before proceeding with the main topic.


are also better at maintaining a topic over many turns.

*A milestone in young children’s pragmatic development is their ability to understand what other people might be thinking.

*Having an adequate awareness of their listeners’ thought and perspectives, also referred to as theory of mind, is absolutely necessary for children to develop into real conversation partners.


develop an awareness of other people’s mind from as early as two years old as a result of psychological process known as nonegocentrism.

* Sharing and adapting to listeners’ perspectives


their thinking develops, children gradually learn to consider other people’s perspectives. *This ability to shift perspectives is linked to language form development and semantic development. *For example: children use deictic terms such as ‘that’, ‘this’, ‘here’, ‘there’ when they know that their interlocutors understand the objects they are referring to. *Example 37, p. 114 P: can you make one of these yourself? C: Well, I need one of this and one of this

*How is nonegocentrism happen?

*By the time they are three, most children can describe events that happens to them. Due to their limited skills at text structuring, however, these early narratives generally do not flow smoothly.

*Four years old children can produce extended monologues of recounts and accounts.


characteristics of extended discourse are coherence, cohesion, centring, and chaining.


Coherence and cohesion


organize their narratives and sequences events, children make use of simple coordinating conjunctions to link causes. *The commonest conjunctions used by children up to the age of 9 or even later is ‘and’. Another frequently used item is ‘ then’.


functions of these conjunctions is to provide cohesion, that is to help different part of the story hang together logically.

*Example 44 p. 116 Child: when I wake up in the morning, I had potato soup, then change, then go downstairs.

Centring and Chaining


strategies, centring and chaining are used for structuring the information in children’s narratives.


refers to a simple joining together of different parts of an event to form a story without any systematic order chronologically or causally.


story does not have a main focus. It is simply a sequence of utterances added on to the ones before.


is a logical connection of events or parts of a story for establishing a plot or story line.

*For children above five years old, it may also be carried out causally, that is one event leads to the occurrence of another.

*Children’s semantic and

pragmatic development in the first five years of their lives provides an important foundation for more sophisticated and specialized development through out their primary and secondary school years.


is useful to note that language form, semantic and pragmatic development are interrelated and equally important to overall language development.


child’s overall language development is influenced by a number of factors, including sociocultural and economic background.

*More importantly, much of their development is influenced by the quality of interaction that children receive from the environments.


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