Semantic & Pragmatic Development

Semantic & Pragmatic
Graduate Program
State University of Semarang
• Discussing in greater detail about the
ability to use language explicitly and
appropriately entail.
• Exploring the interrelationship of cognitive
growth, social growth and all three areas
of language development.
1. What are the key characteristics of
2. In what way are semantics, pragmatic, and
language form developments related?
Semantic and pragmatic growth in early
years is an important foundation for language
development in the school years.
Formal education will build upon this
foundation to help children and adolescents
further develop their language knowledge
and skills for a wider range of topics and
situations, particularly formal and academic
*Semantic Development
is characterized by the acquisition of
vocabulary and the ability to understand
interrelationship between words and their
relationship to abstract concepts.
children learn some of the early
irregular past morphemes as the individual
words before figuring out that there are
different forms for the same words.
break, broken
go, gone
Syntagmatic-Paradigmatic Shift
Relational Terms
Figurative Language
Word Definition
Key features of Semantic
This shift begins in preschool and is a
slow process continuing into school age
and adulthood.
Involving the change of syntagmatic
and paradigmatic associations.
Paradigmatic Shift
*It take place when the speaker has to choose words
that can be strung together in logical and
grammatical sequences.
children first learn language, they select
words according to their syntagmatic associations.
Daddy make Maisy’s milk.
Speaker selected each word according to the
function it has in the utterance.
*happens when
the speaker need to decide the most
appropriate or accurate words to use out of a
number of possibilities.
happens when as the child develops, another
system of word associations begin to emerge.
* Words are related to one another based on some
shared common characteristics, these words belong
to the same semantic class.
*Example: big, huge, large.
Relational Terms
• An important characteristic of semantic
to relate
to their
knowledge of their world.
• Very young children use words to express
concepts that they have already grasped
through experience.
• words that are part of their everyday
routine are acquired early: bread,
water, milk
 Bread, milk, water
 Water, soap, bubbles, towel,
• Children understand the meaning easily
because these words describing tangible
• Other types of relational terms that
children gradually acquire are about
spatial relations, physical relations,
temporal relations and interrogatives.
• Simple locational prepositions ‘in’ and
‘on’ are some of the earliest words
children learn for expressing spatial
• Physical relations also include concepts
normally learn words that contrast size
and length first.
• e. g: big/small, long/short
• They
• e.g: big eyes, short train.
• Children also begin to learn about
concept such as cold, warm, and
Temporal relations
• Children start acquiring terms for
temporal relations later than terms
about location and physical relations.
• Three phases of acquisition
(after and
(since and
(while and
• Children follow a predictable order
when producing questions using ‘wh’
words. This order is dependent on a
child’s development in the related
• Example 11 p. 106
P : When did you do a poo poo?
C : Yes, in my nappy.
Child may still not be able to answer a
questions about time of event
Example 12 p.106
P : Why don’t you like your bed?
C: ‘cause it is small.
P: Why don’t you like it small?
C: Because I like it bigger. I’m a big
She is able to answer most ’why’ questions
appropriately and begun to ask this type
of question herself.
Example 14, p.106
C: Which color balloon do you want?
‘Which’ also used correctly to indicate
Figurative Language
Figurative Language
• Children often use language in amazingly creative
ways, describing something metaphorically or
comparing it to another thing by means of a
• The ability to use language creatively to
communicate imaginative or literal meaning is an
important aspect of decontextualized language
skill, which has an important role in children’s
school literacy development.
• Example 14 p.106
Child (hanging down from the side of her
bed) “ I’m hanging upside down like a bat,
Mummy, I’m a bat”
• However, their metaphors and similes are
not always conventional ones.
• Example 16 p.106
Child (to mother after she stops the car
suddenly at a traffic light) “Careful! Don’t
break the car!”
Word Definition
An indication of child’s language development is
the way they define the words, particularly
Children have a basic understanding of a
referent of a word, but what is generally
missing is the ability to make wider connection
between that referent and other words and
Example 21, p. 108
Child (pointing a wooden toy bicycle in her picture
book): What is this Mummy?
P: It’s a bicycle
C: This isn’t biccyle
P: Isn’t it?
C: No pedals.
The child rejects the wooden toy bicycle because
it does not have pedals, which are clearly essential
functional and physical properties of a bicycle.
Bicycle is something that we pedal to get it to
Pragmatic Development
Understanding & expressing Intensions
Introducing, maintaining and closing a topic
Sharing and adapting to listeners’ perspectives
Organizing extended discourse
* Understanding
& expressing
*Children understand and express simple pragmatic
intentions from as young as a few months.
the ages of 1.5 and 5 years old, children
become better at understanding speech acts, while
at the same time they learn to do the following:
exclaim, name, offer, greet, ask for information,
make direct and indirect requests, express wants,
ask questions, accompany action with language,
prohibit, protest, demand, command, request
permission, make suggestions, give reasons,
negotiate and express attitude
*Using language to accompany an action is considered an
early sign o pragmatic development (Wells, 1985)
can tell if children understand the functions of
utterances by their actions and by their contingent
*A contingent response is a response that is relevant to a
previous utterance.
Example 30 p. 111
*P : Do you think Daddy would like some grapes?
*(Child picks up a grape and puts it in her father’s plate)
children normally introduce a topic
through a direct question (what is this?), an
imperative (Look at this), or declarative sentence
about a topic they have chosen (Vivian is my
*They assume that their listeners share the same
referent, which may not always be the case.
*As a result, some of their utterances may sound
*Introducing, maintaining
and closing a topic
children may use a pre-question (Do you
know…) to establish whether their listener shares
the same background knowledge before
proceeding with the main topic.
are also better at maintaining a topic over
many turns.
*A milestone in young children’s pragmatic development is
their ability to understand what other people might be
*Having an adequate awareness of their listeners’ thought
and perspectives, also referred to as theory of mind, is
absolutely necessary for children to develop into real
conversation partners.
develop an awareness of other people’s mind
from as early as two years old as a result of psychological
process known as nonegocentrism.
* Sharing and adapting to listeners’
their thinking develops, children gradually learn to
consider other people’s perspectives.
*This ability to shift perspectives is linked to language
form development and semantic development.
*For example: children use deictic terms such as ‘that’,
‘this’, ‘here’, ‘there’ when they know that their
interlocutors understand the objects they are referring
*Example 37, p. 114
P: can you make one of these yourself?
C: Well, I need one of this and one of this
*How is nonegocentrism
*By the time they are three, most children can
describe events that happens to them. Due to
their limited skills at text structuring,
however, these early narratives generally do
not flow smoothly.
*Four years old children can produce extended
monologues of recounts and accounts.
characteristics of extended discourse are
Coherence and cohesion
organize their narratives and sequences events,
children make use of simple coordinating conjunctions
to link causes.
*The commonest conjunctions used by children up to
the age of 9 or even later is ‘and’. Another frequently
used item is ‘ then’.
functions of these conjunctions is to provide
cohesion, that is to help different part of the story
hang together logically.
*Example 44 p. 116
Child: when I wake up in the morning, I had potato soup,
then change, then go downstairs.
Centring and Chaining
strategies, centring and chaining are used
for structuring the information in children’s
refers to a simple joining together of
different parts of an event to form a story
without any systematic order chronologically or
story does not have a main focus. It is
simply a sequence of utterances added on to the
ones before.
is a logical connection of
events or parts of a story for
establishing a plot or story line.
*For children above five years old, it may
also be carried out causally, that is one
event leads to the occurrence of
*Children’s semantic and
pragmatic development in the first
five years of their lives provides an important foundation for
more sophisticated and specialized development through out
their primary and secondary school years.
is useful to note that language form, semantic and
pragmatic development are interrelated and equally
important to overall language development.
child’s overall language development is influenced by a
number of factors, including sociocultural and economic
*More importantly, much of their development is influenced
by the quality of interaction that children receive from the
Thank you