Key terms


The process of writing development

Oracy- an individual's development of speaking and listening skills

Literacy- an individual's development of reading and writing skills 

Tripod grip- the way in which a pen or pencil should be held, using the thumb, forefinger and middle finger

Gross motor skills- the skills associated with larger movements, for example, walking, jumping, climbing, waving

Fine motor skills- the skills associated with more precise movements, for example with the fingers; this might be writing, sewing, playing with lego or using scissors

Directionality- the process of writing from left to right

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Skinner key terms

Operant conditioning- the idea that either a positive or negative response given by a caregiver can influence the way in which a child talks on future occasions 

Positive reinforcement- the positive feedback given to a child which is thought to encourage similar performance again

Negative reinforcement- the lack of feedback, correction or negative feedback that might prevent a child from making the same error repeatedly 

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Chomsky key terms

LAD (Language Acquisition Device)- as proposed by Chomsky, the idea that all humans are born with an innate language learning capacity

Tabula rasa- latin for "blank slate" and the term used to describe the idea that children are born with undeveloped, fresh brains 

Universal grammar- term coined by Chomsky, the notion that all human languages possess similar grammatical properties which the brain is "hard wired" to be able to decode and use

Virtuous errors- grammatical errors that are understandable and logical through an incorrect assumption being made about grammar rules

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Bruner key terms

LASS (Language Acquisition Support System)- system as proposed by Bruner, the caregivers and other individuals who play a key role in a child's language development 

Scaffolding- the support provided by caregivers through modelling how speech ought to take place, in order to help the child's language development 

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Piaget key terms

Cognitive development- a child's development of thinking and understanding 

Egocentric- thinking only of themselves, without understanding or regard for the feelings of others

Object permanance- an understanding that objects continue to exist even when they can't be seen or touched

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Vygotsky key terms

MKO (More Knowledgeable other)- the older participant in an interaction who might offer support to a child so that they can further their own development or learning 

ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development)- describes the area between what a child can already do and what is beyond their reach. It is the area into which a caregiver might enable the child to progress by offering the necessary support or scaffolding to facilitate learning

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Tomasello key terms

Usage based linguitics- a model that emphasises that language structure emerges from use in that linguistic patterns are formed and become what we know as grammatical reconstuctions 

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Child language development

Communicative competence- the ability to form accurate and understandable utterances, using the grammar system, and to understand the social context for using them 

Proto words- "made up" words that a child will use to represent a word they might not be able to pronounce

Phoneme- any of the perpetually distinct units of sound in a specified language that distinguish one word from the other

Morpheme- a meaningful morphological unit of a language that cannot be further divided

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Child language development

Vowel- a speech sound which is produced by comparatively open configuration of the vocal tract, with vibration of the vocal cords but without audible friction, and which is a unit of the sound system of a language that forms the nucleus of a syllable

Consonant- a basic speech sound in which the breath is at least partly obstructed and which can be combined with a vowel to form a syllable

Diphthong- a sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable, in which the sound begins as one vowel and moves towards another 

Addition- adding an addition suffix to the end of a word to change how it is pronounced/interpreted     

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Child language development

Digraph- a combination of two letters representing one sound, as in ph and ey

Trigraph- a group of three letters representing one sound, for example igh

Split digraph- when a digraph isplit by a consonant it becomes a split digraph, for example: wrote – the 'oe' here make one sound

Articulatory ease- how easy it is to articulate words

Perceptual discriminability- ability to perceive a difference

Diminuative- the reduction in scale of an item through the way this word is created 

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Child directed speech

Child directed speech- the various ways in which a caregiver unconsciously adapts their speech in order to aid a child in their language development 

Expansion- where a caregiver might develop the child's utterance to make it more grammatically complete

Recast- the grammatically incorrect utterance is spoken back in the correct way 

Mitigated imperatives- instructions given as a gentle suggestion 

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Child language development

Hyponym- more specific words that can be defined within the more generic hypernym e.g. spoon

Hypernym- more generic term that is connected to more specific word choices that are all within the same semantic field e.g. cutlery 

Bound morpheme- if the unit doesn't make sense on its own, but relies on other units to make sense, it is referred to as a bound morpheme e.g. ing

Unbound morpheme- if the unit makes sense on its own then it is unbound or free e.g. park


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