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language  A communication system in which words and their written symbols combine in various, regulated ways to produce an infinite number of messages.
communicative competence  The ability to convey thoughts, feelings, and intentions in an organized, culturally patterned way that sustains and regulates human interactions.
productive language  The production of speech.
receptive language  Understanding the speech of others.
phonology  The system of sounds that a particular language uses.
phoneme  Any of the basic units of a language's phonetic system; phonemes are the smallest sound units that affect meaning.
semantics  The study of word meanings and word combinations, as in phrases, clauses, and sentences.
grammar  The structure of a language; made up of morphology and syntax.
morphology  The study of a language's smallest units of meaning, such as a prefix, a suffix, or a root word.
syntax  The subdivision of grammar that prescribes how words are to be combined into phrases, clauses, and sentences.
pragmatics  A set of rules that specify appropriate language for particular social contexts.
language acquisition device (LAD)  Chomsky's proposed mental structure in the human nervous system that incorporates an innate concept of language.
creole language  A language spoken by first-generation, pidgin-language speakers; a language that in contrast with pidgin, is highly developed and rule governed.
critical period  A specific period in children's development when they are sensitive to a particular environmental stimulus that does not have the same effect on them when encountered before or after this period.
language acquisition support system (LASS)  According to Bruner, a collection of strategies and tactics that environmental influences-intially, a child's parents or primary caretakers-provide the language-learning child.
infant-directed speech  A simplified style of speech parents use with young children, in which sentences are short simple, and often repetitive; the speaker enunciates especially clearly, slowly, and in a higher-pitched voice and often ends with a rising intonation. Also called motherese.
expansion  A technique adults use in speaking to young children in which they might imitate and expand or add to a child's statement.
recast  A technique adults use in speaking to young children in which they render a child's incomplete sentence in a more complex grammatical form.
negative evidence  According to pinker, corrective feedback that parents may give to young language-learning children.
protodeclarative  A gesture that an infant uses to make some sort of statement about an object.
protoimperative  A gesture that either an infant or a young child may use to get someone to do something she or he wants.
categorical speech perception  the tendency to perceive a range of sounds that belong to the same phonemic group as the same.
cooing  A very young infant's production of vowel-like sounds.
babbling  An infant's production of strings of consonant-vowel combinations.
patterned speech  A form of pseudospeech in which the child utters strings of phonemes that sound very much like real speech but are not.
naming explosion  The rapid increase in vocabulary that the child typically shows at about the age of 1 1/2.
overextension  The use, by a young child, of a single word to cover many different things.
underextension  The use, by a young child, of a single word in a restricted and individualistic way.
holophrase  A single word that appears to represent a complete thought.
telegraphic speech  Two-word utterances that include only the words that are essential to convey the speaker's intent.
overregularization  the mistaken application of a principle of regular change to a word that changes irregularly.
speech acts  One- or two- word utterances that clearly refer to situations or to sequences of events.
discourse  Socially based conversations.
metalinguistic awareness  The understanding that language is a system of communicating with others that is bound by rules.
bilingual education  Teaching children two languages at the same time.

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