This series of Thursday’s Theory stems from the research undertaken by Greer & Rivera-Valdes, 2012: Multiple Exemplar Instruction and the Emergence of Generative Production of Suffixes as Autoclitic Frames.
Research clearly shows us how to teach the beginnings of language to children who develop language later than their peers, who fail to develop language at all, or who develop abnormal language. We know how to teach the request, the label, asking for information, recalling past events and a whole host of other language and communication skills. Research is still developing, however, in how to teach certain nuances of vocal verbal behaviour.
For example, those more complex grammatical structures. It is not just children with a language delay who fail to develop these skills. Many adults struggle with these skills too. The adults may have grown up with parents who didn’t speak English as a first language, they may have grown up in a family where people didn’t address children, they may not have read books readily or there may have been a period of abuse, neglect, or trauma.
Understanding and being able to use such language skills is the difference between ‘getting a joke’ or not, fitting in to a social group, reading a situation, or understanding a book or a film. It can make or break an interview. Not understanding or using language properly can cause an argument between friends or spouses and, at the very least, can be embarrassing for the adult who does not understand fully what is going on or ‘gets it wrong’.
There are many reasons why the more complex nuances of language don’t develop as they should, which is why it is so important that we learn how to teach these skills.
Next week we will discuss what a suffix and an autoclitic are, so check back!