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Please contact Florida Speech if
you would like to discuss your specific concerns about language
comprehension and use, or to set up an appointment for a language
evaluation and/or therapy.
- In basic terms, language is the way sounds are sequenced to form words, how words are sequenced to form sentences, and the meanings that are applied to those words by the users of any specific language. Language is separated into two types, receptive and expressive.
- Receptive language is the comprehension, or understanding of, spoken or written language.
- Expressive language is the ability of an individual to adequately express his or her thoughts, ideas, wants, and feelings through speaking or writing.
- Language is further divided into three components: content, form, and use.
- Language content consists of what individuals talk about, and what they understand of what other people say. Language content is also referred to as semantics, or the meaning of words and how they are used. An individual with difficulties in vocabulary comprehension and/or use has a difficulty with language content, or semantics.
- Some common semantic relations, or language structures and sequences, used by children include:
- action-location (i.e.: "come here")
- action-object (i.e.: "eat pretzels")
- agent-action (i.e.: "sissy open)
- agent-object (i.e.: "mommy home")
- demonstrative-entity (i.e.: "that train")
- entity-location (i.e.: "doggie there")
- possessor-possession (i.e.: "my ball")
- Language form, or the structure of sounds combined to form words, and the way the words are sequenced to form sentences, consists of three areas:
- Phonology: the study of the sound system of language, including pauses and stresses.
- Morphology: the study of the minimal units of grammatical structure that have meaning (i.e.: "teach" vs. "teacher"). A morpheme is a word or part of a word that has meaning. There are different types of morphemes.
- Some morpheme types include:
- bound morphemes: these types of morphemes cannot stand alone in a sentence. These indicate plurality or singularity in nouns (i.e.: "cats"), verb tensing (i.e.: "walked"), degree in adjectives (i.e.: "softness"), possession (i.e.: "girl's"), and negation (i.e.: "unhappy").
- free morphemes: these morphemes can stand alone in sentences and still designate meaning (i.e.: "cat, walk, soft).
- grammatical morphemes: these morphemes place inflection on nouns, verbs, and adjectives which signals different meanings (i.e.: the morpheme -s when added to a noun 'dog' shows plurality, but when added to the noun 'mommy' shows possession).
- zero morpheme: these morphemes are variations of the plural bound morpheme which indicates the absence of a change from singular to plural form (i.e.: "fish, sheep").
- Syntax: refers to the way words are combined together to form meaningful phrases and sentences (i.e.: "I like to fish" vs. "Fish I like to").
- Individuals with difficulty constructing grammatically correct and meaningful phrases and sentences have difficulty with comprehending and/or using proper language form.
- Language use consists of how individuals use language in different contexts. This is also referred to as pragmatics, the study of the social use of language. Pragmatics includes aspects such as eye contact with conversational partners, physical proximity to communicative partners, turn taking and not interrupting, body language, and using polite or proper greetings. Individuals who are unable to abide by socially acceptable pragmatic/conversational rules, have difficulty with language use.
- In order to correctly understand and use language skills, children need to have certain "building blocks" of language. These "building blocks" are referred to as basic concepts and include colors, numbers, location words, and descriptive words. Without proper comprehension of these basic concepts, children will most likely exhibit difficulties with following directions, engaging in classroom routines, and giving descriptions. Basic language concepts are absolutely essential for academic tasks such as reading, writing, speaking, and arithmetic.
- Treatment approaches and techniques for language disorders vary depending upon what area(s) of language are found to be disordered or delayed. Therapists also should consider the age, gender, and background of the language disordered or delayed client, and what aspects of treatment would prove to be most beneficial, or functional, for the individual clients. For example, a therapy approach for a language delayed adult would possibly focus on functional use of language in a work environment, whereas a therapy approach for a language delayed adolescent would possibly focus on figurative language and academic vocabulary comprehension and use.
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