Handbook of Language and Literacy Development - a Roadmap from 0 to 60 Months

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glossary

Speech and Language Development (0-60 Months)click to print Print

adjective – a word that is used to describe a noun or pronoun ( The pretty cup, She is pretty)

adverb – a word that is used to describe a verb (The boys run quickly)

article – a word that comes before nouns to specify whether the speaker is referring to any member of a group (a, an), or to a specific member of a group (the)

auxiliary verb a word which adds meaning to the verb that follows it or makes a sentence more grammatically correct (They are running, The boy is jumping)

babbling – the term used for strings of sounds, both consonants and vowels, produced by children beginning around six months of age ("dadadabababa")

child-directed speech (also known as infant-directed speech, baby talk) - a way of talking that uses higher, more variable pitch and exaggerated stress compared to speech directed to other adults or older children

clause – a group of words that contain a noun and verb phrase and forms a sentence (independent clause such as The man is yelling.) or part of a sentence (dependent clause such as The man who is mad is yelling.)

closed-class words – words that make sentences more grammatical such as prepositions (with, from), conjunctions (and, but), articles (the, an), pronouns (he, she) and auxiliaries (are, is)

conjoining – a process in which two or more independent clauses are joined in one sentence using a conjunction (The cat is running and the dog is barking)

conjunction – a word that connects words, phrases or sentences (and, but)

declarative – a type of sentence that expresses a statement (That dog is brown)

deixis - a process by which one uses the immediate circumstances to understand a word’s meaning

demonstrative pronoun – a type of pronoun that indicates the person or thing that is being referred to (this, that)

embedding – a process by which a dependent clause is joined with an independent clause to create a complex sentence (He is the man who we met at the mall)

entrainment – a term used to describe how infants match their movements with the timing of the speech they hear

imperative – a type of sentence that expresses a demand or command (Give me that!)

infinitive phrase – a type of embedded clause that is created when wh-words or phrases beginning with to follow the main verb in the sentence (I know how to do it, I am going to go home)

intentionality – a term used to describe the awareness of self babies demonstrate when they purposefully act or vocalize to gain their caregiver’s attention or help

jargon - long strings of speech produced by babies around 9 months of age that may sound like the adult speech around them (i.e., same rhythm and stress patterns) but be completely impossible to understand ( “adadudatadutah?”)

joint attention (or joint referencing) - the ability to focus with someone else on the same object, person, or event. Joint attention develops through routines and play in which caregivers repeatedly pair action and activity to direct their babies’ attention.

gerund – a type of embedded clause that is created when a verb with the –ing ending functions as a noun (Swimming is fun)

noun – a word that names a person, place or thing (Dan, house)

noun phrase – a phrase that contains a noun and may be preceded by an article and/or adjective (The pretty hat fell down)

object – the noun that receives the action of the verb (She touched the fish)

open-class words - content words like nouns, verbs, and adjectives

object permanence – the understanding that objects exist even when they can’t be seen (a toy still exists even if it is hidden under a blanket)

overextension refers to a child’s overgeneralization of a word to situations where an adult would use a different word (using “dog” for all four-legged animals)

participial phrase - a type of embedded clause that creates adjectives through the addition of verb endings such as –ed, -ing, -t and -en (The broken dish)

phrase – a group of words that can not stand alone as a sentence (in a pot)

pitch – the highness or lowness of a sound

plot – an outline of the main events in a story

possessive pronoun – a type of pronoun that indicates that something belongs to the one referred to (The coat is hers)

preposition – a word that shows the relationship between a noun or pronoun to other parts of the sentence (The boy with the green hair is scary)

prepositional phrase – a phrase that is composed of a preposition (in, on, to) followed by an article/modifier (the, a) and a noun (The boy with the green hair is scary)

presupposition - knowledge of what information needs to be included or left out during conversation

protonarrative – a early type of narrative produced in the 24-36 month period that is made up of a set of unrelated sentences about a topic

pronoun – a word that is used in place of a noun (he, she)

protoverbs - vocalizations that accompany actions of putting objects together, taking them apart, or putting them in, out, and off

protowords – vocalizations that have consistent sound patterns and function as words for infants. Protowords are often imitations of environmental sounds and are not based on adult words

relative pronoun – a type of pronoun (who, whom, whoever, whomever, who, which, what, that) that refers to the preceding noun and attaches a dependent clause following that noun (The dog that barked is angry)

subject – a word or group of words before the verb in a sentence that tells what the sentence is about (The angry dog is barking)

syllable – a unit in a word that contains at least a vowel and possibly one or more consonants

telegraphic speech – a kind of speech used by children in which contains primarily open-class words and few, if any, closed-class words (Mommy sad, Go bed)

theme – the main subject of a narrative

tone – a manner of speaking that shows a certain feeling or attitude

unanalyzed wholes - two-word combinations that are actually used by the toddlers as a single word (allgone)

underextension – occurs when toddlers only partially understand a word’s meaning and use a word to refer to a single object instead of a class of similar objects (e.g., a child using “dog” to refer only to his own dog and not to other dogs)

verb – a word that expresses an action (run, jump) or otherwise helps to make a statement (am, has been)

verb phrase - a phrase that contains a verb (The pretty hat fell down)

verb “to be” – referred to as the copula when used as the main verb (She is happy). The verb "to be" can also be used as an auxiliary verb (They are running)

voiceless consonant – a consonant produced without vocal fold vibration (s, f)

voiced consonant – a consonant produced with vocal fold vibration (z, v)