Children's Understanding of Language

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    • 00:00

      [As children develop their understanding of language,they come to understand that words are not the same as whatthey stand for.In this video, some children show they do not understandthis when they say their favorite word is something theyactually like, while others show they do understand that theycan like a word but not necessarily what it standsfor.]

    • 00:18

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: Here's a question about words.Could you tell me some of your favorite things?Of all the things that you like, what aresome favorite things for you?

    • 00:30

      MOLLY: Probably playing with my dolls and playing with my dogand probably, like, teaching my dog to do new tricks.Because she's really smart.

    • 00:43

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: Well, that would be fun.And is that why-- and what makes that fun?What is fun about doing that?

    • 00:50

      MOLLY: Because, like, my dog is really good and everything.And it's really fun to teach her and see her learn it.

    • 00:57

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: OK.That does sound like fun.Do you have any words that are your favorite words?

    • 01:07

      MOLLY: Not really.

    • 01:08

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: OK.No word that you just like or is fun to say or--

    • 01:14

      MOLLY: I like the biggest word-- "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

    • 01:19

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: Now that's a wonderful example.And what makes that fun?

    • 01:24

      MOLLY: Probably memorizing it.

    • 01:25

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: OK.And just showing you can do it?

    • 01:28

      MOLLY: Yeah.

    • 01:29

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: Do you have any ideawhat "supercalifragil isticexpialidocious" means?

    • 01:35

      MOLLY: No, not really.

    • 01:36

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: I don't, either.But it still is fun to say because it's justlike a big kind of funny word to say.That was a good example.You've got any other ones?

    • 01:47

      MOLLY: No, that's my only one.

    • 01:49

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: That was a perfect one.Tell me something that you really like.And it can be anything-- just something you really like.

    • 01:60

      NICHOLAS: I like to play sports.

    • 02:01

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: Oh, yes?Do you have a favorite sport?

    • 02:04

      NICHOLAS: Golf.

    • 02:05

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: Golf?Well, that's an interesting sport.I don't think a lot of boys your age maybe play golf, huh?

    • 02:12

      NICHOLAS: Not really.

    • 02:13

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: Yeah.Well, that sounds very special.Anything else that's a favorite thing for you?

    • 02:22

      NICHOLAS: I like being with my family.

    • 02:23

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: Oh, that's good.That's a very nice thing.Now here's a different question.Are there any words that you really like?You could say, like, this is my favorite word.This is something I really like to say.Is there anything like that?

    • 02:41

      NICHOLAS: "Fun."

    • 02:42

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: Oh, OK.Can you think of another thing?

    • 02:46

      NICHOLAS: And "athletic."

    • 02:51

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: OK.And why are those words you like to say?

    • 02:56

      NICHOLAS: Because I like being-- I like playing sports.So that's why I say that it's "fun" and "athletic."

    • 03:03

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: I see.Uh-huh.So both of those words mean things that you really enjoy.Good answer.Samuel, can you tell me what are some of your favorite things?

    • 03:19

      SAMUEL: Sports, math, and reading.

    • 03:25

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: OK.Could you tell me a little bit about whythose are favorite things?

    • 03:32

      SAMUEL: I love sports.It's just really fun to do.And I love reading because the stories are interesting.I love finding out what happens at the end.

    • 03:44

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: OK.

    • 03:48

      SAMUEL: Math.I just like--

    • 03:51

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: You know, maybe the reasonI forgot is not a lot of people say that math isone of their favorite things.So I would really like to hear why that's your favorite--

    • 04:01

      SAMUEL: It's my favorite because it's, like, fun to doand it's not very hard for me to do.

    • 04:06

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: Oh, so that's another talent that you have,you think?

    • 04:10

      SAMUEL: Yes.

    • 04:11

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: Yeah.OK.Now I have a very different kind of question for you.What are some of your favorite words?

    • 04:23

      SAMUEL: "Blitzkrieg."I don't have very many favorite words, but--

    • 04:34

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: Well, we can talk about "blitzkrieg."So, first, can you tell me what that means?

    • 04:40

      SAMUEL: It was just, like, in the spelling bee so didn'thave the definitions of it.But it just was interesting.

    • 04:50

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: OK.And so you tell me.But is that why it's one of your favorite words--that it was kind of a different and interesting word?

    • 04:59

      SAMUEL: Yes.

    • 05:00

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: OK.Well, that was an interesting answer-- "blitzkrieg."Does any other word come to mind?

    • 05:08

      SAMUEL: No.

    • 05:09

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: OK, well that was a good one.So we could be very happy with that one.Thanks.

    • 05:14

      SAMUEL: OK.

    • 05:17

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: So, Maya, my first questionfor you is, what are some of your favorite things?

    • 05:24

      MAYA: To do?

    • 05:25

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: Sure-- to do.

    • 05:27

      MAYA: OK, I enjoy reading.And I am on the cross-country team,and I really enjoy running.And I really like playing soccer.

    • 05:39

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: OK.Could you tell me a little bit about whythose are your favorite things?

    • 05:46

      MAYA: I like them because they're like-- I can just,like, do them.I don't have to, like-- I don't know.I don't have to think about it.I can just go out running.And I can just escape, kind of.

    • 05:59

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: OK, that sounds like a good reasonto enjoy doing that.My second question is a very different question.What are some of your favorite words?

    • 06:15

      MAYA: "Onomatopoeia"-- I like that word.

    • 06:17

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: OK, that's interesting.And tell me again.Why is that a favorite word?

    • 06:21

      MAYA: Because I just like how it sounds.It's like "on-uh-mon-uh-pee-uh."It's, like, long.And it sounds cool.

    • 06:27

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: And that's kind of a nice rhythm--

    • 06:29

      MAYA: Yeah.

    • 06:30

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: --to it.Do you have any idea what it means?

    • 06:33

      MAYA: Yeah, it's like-- it's a literary term thatmeans, like-- like "hiss" or something like that.It's like a sound.

    • 06:42

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: OK.And it is also just a fun word--

    • 06:46

      MAYA: Yeah.

    • 06:46

      DR JOYCE MUNSCH: --to say.Good.Thank you.

Children's Understanding of Language

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Abstract

As children develop an understanding of language, they come to understand that words are not the same as what they stand for. Dr. Joyce Munsch demonstrates this learning process by interviewing children aged 9-14.

Children's Understanding of Language

As children develop an understanding of language, they come to understand that words are not the same as what they stand for. Dr. Joyce Munsch demonstrates this learning process by interviewing children aged 9-14.

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