Expressive Language

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Expressive Language is the, “use of words, sentences, gestures and writing to convey meaning and messages to others.”1

Expressive language allows us to engage in social interactions with others. It allows us to express wants, needs, thoughts and ideas as well as share points of view and ask questions.

Expressive language skills include being able to2 :

  • Name objects in the environment
  • Describe actions or events
  • Form sentences
  • Use grammar correctly
  • Retell a story
  • Answer questions

There are 5 components to expressive language:

  • Phonology refers to the phonological system of a given language–think of it as the rules for combining sounds in words (or gestures, in the case of sign languages).
  • Word Formation (Morphology) refers to the rules for creating words and word forms. It focuses at the structure and parts of words (stems, root words, prefixes, and suffixes as) as well as parts of speech, intonation, a context.
  • Sentence Formation (Syntax) refers to the rules of grammar and sentence structure. It governs the structure of sentences.
  • Vocabulary (Semantics) refers to knowledge of words and word meanings. Vocabulary is the supply of words you have for expressing yourself and making your ideas understood. A diverse vocabulary tends to help children learn new information.
  • Pragmatics refers to the social and functional use of language and how things like context and tone contribute to meaning. 3 4 5 6

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