Language and Phonological Processes. Definition of Language.
An organized system of symbols used to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas and information. This system further includes a variety of modes such as spoken/oral language, written language, sign language and augmentative/alternative communication systems.
Receptive Language: The language one hears, reads, processes and understands
Expressive Language: The language one speaks, writes, types or signs as a means of expression
The message the speaker is attempting to convey to the listener, also known as semantics. Includes vocabulary, basic concepts (e.g. spatial, qualitative such as “big-little”, “think-thin”, etc.; temporal (e.g. “first-last”), quantitative (e.g. “more-less”)
Organization of the sentence using grammatical rules of the language, also known as syntax. Includes sentence structure (simple, complex, compound), rules of grammar (subject-verb agreement, verb tense, etc.) and morphological structures (endings of words that change meaning such as “ed”, “ing”, plural “s”)
Communication intent of the message from the speaker to the listener – also known as pragmatics. Includes the ability to initiate and maintain topics during conversation, non-verbal communication including eye contact and body language, varied ways we use language including questioning, commenting, directing, requesting, etc.
Refers to an individual’s awareness of and access to the sound structure of oral language (Mattingly, 1972)
As children develop, they demonstrate awareness for increasingly smaller phonological units of speech
Start with word length phonological units (e.g. recognize two words in a compound word such as “cowboy”
Proceeds to awareness of syllables within words
Awareness within the syllable – recognizing onsets and rimes
Awareness of individual phonemes within syllables – individual phonemes within rimes, within consonant clusters, etc.
Segmentation (sentence, syllables, phonemes
Blending (syllables & phonemes)
Discrimination of one speech sound from another; perceiving differences in sound patterns. If a student is unable to perceive contrasts in speech-sound units and cannot conceptualize the identity, number and sequence of sounds in syllables and words, they do not have a way to verify the letter-sound compatibility or incompatibility in the spelling and reading of words.
Refers to coding information phonologically for temporary storage in working or short-term memory (e.g. attempting to remember a telephone number you have looked up as you make your way to the phone/storing the number temporarily in working memory). The part of the memory most involved in storing phonological information is called the phonological loop - brief, verbatim storage of auditory information (Baddeley, 1986; Torgesen, 1996)
Requires efficient retrieval of phonological information from long-term or permanent memory. When reading, young readers presumably retrieve phonemes associated with letters or letter pairs, pronunciations of common word segments and pronunciations of whole words. The efficiency with which children are able to retrieve phonological codes associated with individual phonemes, word segments or entire words should influence the degree to which phonological information is useful in decoding printed words (Baddeley, 1986; Wolf, 1991)
Phonological Memory: A deficit does not inevitably lead to poor reading of familiar material but is more likely to impair decoding of new words, particularly words that are long enough to decode bit-by-bit, as a means of storing intermediate sounds. A deficit in phonological memory may not impair listening or reading comprehension for simple sentences but is likely to impair both listening and reading comprehension for more complex sentences. Phonological memory impairments can constrain the ability to learn new written and spoken language (Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing/CTOPP)
A deficit in phonological awareness is viewed as the hallmark of reading disability or dyslexia. Poor phonological awareness is associated with poor reading for both individuals whose poor reading levels are discrepant from their IQ’s and for individuals whose poor reading levels are consistent with their IQ’s. Multiple research studies demonstrate improved reading performance after being given intervention designed to improve phonological awareness.
Deficits relate to reading fluency problems. Individuals who have deficits in both rapid naming and phonological awareness appear to be at greater risk of reading problems compared to individuals with deficits in only one of the two areas.
Content (vocabulary, concepts, semantics) deficits impact text comprehension, reading fluency (decoding new vocabulary words rather than utilizing text cues in sentence structure, meaning, etc.)
Form/Structure – deficits impact comprehension related to understanding temporal aspects of text (verb tenses, morphological structures such as past tense ED, present tense ING, plural /s/)
Pragmatics/Social Language Use: Impacts text comprehension, particularly of fiction and narratives