Give them one specific compliment on their article and two specific facts or activities that they could add to their article to help parents understand the process of language acquisition.
As we move through our homeschool year, we would like to give you a backstage pass to the inner workings of our language development and what we are focusing on this year. As our kids are getting older, there are certain language attributes that are important to understanding including “arbitrariness, semanticity, productivity, and displacement” (Piper, 2012).
Arbitrariness is referring to the arbitrary word picked to represent an idea or the concept in no way other than the fact that we learned that the word “water” represents what we know as water (Piper, 2012). It reminds us that the language that we are using consist of words thought up by someone to represent something in our world. Our words are changing constantly and being updated, improved, rejected, and so on by usage panels hired by dictionary publishers (American Heritage, 2016).
“Semanticity in language refers to its capacity for representing ideas, objects, or events with symbols” Piper, 2012). Semanticity is the link between the arbitrary word and the thing that the word represents.
Productivity refers to the production of sounds that are mixed to come up with an infinite amount of words as needed for the language as it grows and adapts (Piper, 2012). Producticity also refers to the mixing of words such as verbs, nouns, adverbs, and so forth to change sentences in uncountable ways (Piper, 2012).
Displacement is accounting for the fact that we can communicate about things that are not right in front of us happening as we are trying to speak to each other about it (Piper, 2012). It gives us the ability to talk to each other about abstract ideas that cannot be represented with physical shapes and things that have already happened or might happen in the future. Our words do not have to be tied directly into the physical present.
Language is a foundational stepping-stone that will help us share ideas and new information with our children. These four attributes to language help distinguish our complex form of communication apart from other animals that can communicate in their simple forms. It shows us what language is, how it is formed, and what it does. It is exciting to witness this language development in our kids, and I look forward to the rest of the school year.
American Heritage. (2016). The American Heritage dictionary of the English language: The usage panel. Retrieved from https://ahdictionary.com/word/usagepanel.html
Piper, T., (2012). Making meaning, making sense: Children’s early language learning. [Electronic version]. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.