Understanding and explaining the meaning of words by younger age school children
[Porozumenie a vysvetlovanie vyznamov slov u deti mladsieho skolskeho veku]
Targeted communication strategies arriving from nearby surroundings form the linguistic expression of children and upgrade their speaking to a higher developmental level. Therefore, it is desirable to observe the effect of the surrounding environment on the language development of a child. Our study interprets the description of the vocabulary of chosen terms while it observes the semantic and grammatic formation of a described word by children (6 – 10 years old). We are going to notice the systematicity, analogy, or variability through semantic meaning or the connectivity of expression with other connotations. If a child experiences a lack of linguistic stimuli coming from the surrounding environment, the resulting slower development of his/her language skills can be a poor vocabulary, making it difficult to form more complex syntactic structures and limiting the child’s communication to a narrow range of active vocabulary. The target group of children (6 to 10 years of age) was tested using the dictionary sub-test of the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), consisting of 30 words designed for 6 - 17 years old children. Despite it being a sub-test of an intelligence test, for achieving more complex results, the testing will require further evaluation on a psychological level, but in the given study, we offer interpretations from the linguistic point of view - language as a pragmatic tool of communication and thinking. Using this diagnostic tool, we have studied the understanding of vocabulary in a group of respondents – pupils of the 1st to 3rd years of study at various basic schools in Slovakia. We derived from the fact that children possess more extensive passive vocabulary than the active one, which means that they understand more words than they actively use when communicating. The reflection of individual vocabulary can be observed through the expression and interpretation of words from our research dictionary. What can be a problem for children is not the recognition and understanding of a particular word itself, but the child’s expressive and explaining skills. The result of measuring the understanding of the meaning of words highly depended on the expressive skills of respondents because the performance in the dictionary test was affected by respondents’ expressive skills, not only the words’ knowledge.
Key words: linguistic expression, language development of a child, passive vocabulary, active vocabulary, meaning of words, expressive skills
Pages: 102 - 113