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Meta-Linguistic Awareness

Young children learn and use language as a tool to communicate: They name things and express needs, desires, and emotions. At some point in development, children may become aware of the structure of language and therefore become sensitive to the formal features of language, such as its phonology, morphology, or syntax. This sensitivity, often called implicit awareness, allows children to discriminate between linguistic units or to judge the correctness of sentences. Once sensitive to the form of language, children may become able to manipulate explicitly the different formal aspects of language. The sensitivity and ability to manipulate units of language belong under the umbrella term of metalinguistic awareness because children move away from meaning to focus on form. Metalinguistic awareness is of interest for two ...

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