What is language?There are 3 areas of language: semantics, syntax/morphology & pragmatics.
What are the characteristics of a language delay?Children who do not develop language skills appropriately are language delayed. Causes for a language delay include: hearing impairment, cognitive impairments, autism, a physical handicap that prevents the child from interacting with their environment, and lack of stimulation. Often, there is no identifiable cause for a language disorder. Language delays are looked at as either a receptive language impairment, expressive language impairment or both. Language delays are changeable; at different stages of development children have different demands on their language systems.Receptive language impairments mean that a child has difficulty understanding language. They may have limited vocabulary. They may not understand the meaning of word endings: that adding "s" makes a noun plural, or "s" indicates possession, or that an "ed" ending on a verb means that the action is past tense. They may have difficulty understanding nonverbal signals, like body language. They may not understand sarcasm, or indirect requests (e.g., "it's cold in here" can mean please close the window").
- Semantics is the study of words and the meanings of words. Examples are concepts, object function, categories, etc.
- Syntax is the application of grammatical rules in language. Examples are pronouns, word order, sentence structure, etc.
- Morphology is the study of the smallest units of meaning in a language. For example the plural 's', and how these units affect word meaning.
- Pragmatics is the practical application of language. The ability to comprehend language and communicate with others. It is our social skills.
Expressive language impairments show up in how a child speaks. They may use only a few words in each sentence. They may leave off word endings, or the little words like "is" and "are". They may not know the names of many words. They may not always use language appropriately and appear to be rude by being too direct or blunt. They might not consider their partner's needs, using ambiguous referents (lots of "he", "she" and "it" when the subject has not been clearly identified), or changing topics abruptly.This website looks at language based learning disabilities.