Language and Linguistics

What are language skills Developing Language Skills Dimensions

Language skills

Listening, speaking, reading and writing are four basic skills that allow us to act socially in the use of language. That is, these are the language skills that people develop as they relate and communicate with each other.

From an early age, children develop oral language skills; therefore, it is up to the school, mainly, to develop listening and speaking skills of oral genres of public use of language. These are skills to be developed: listening with understanding to different oral genres; listen to and respect other people’s opinions, whether convergent or divergent from one’s own convictions; participate in oral interactions, in the classroom and outside it, with freedom, resourcefulness and respect for the interlocutors; adequately recognize non-linguistic expressive resources (gestures, body posture, facial expression, intonation, tone of voice), according to the communicative situation; to identify forms of prejudice or discriminatory attitude in oral texts produced.

In relation to speech, it is necessary to develop skills of counting and retelling texts orally, using the linguistic register appropriate to the communication situation, exposing varied topics, debating controversial topics, properly using the standard norm, respecting linguistic varieties, participating actively and autonomously in situations of public use of the oral language.

Reading and writing are skills that the school seeks to develop both in private uses, in everyday situations, and in public uses, in less familiar situations. Reading with understanding different textual genres, realizing their intentions and effects, as well as knowing how to critically stand before the texts, is what is expected of students with good reading skills. In writing, students will learn to increasingly autonomously produce texts that circulate socially, using appropriate technologies, and making use of expressive and stylistic resources appropriate to the genre in which it appears. 

 THE FOUR LANGUAGE SKILLS

In English, the 4 skills are called listening, speaking, reading and writing . Below, we explain better what each of them means for those who want to communicate in that language. Follow up!

Listening

This skill refers to the ability to understand what is said in English, not only distinguishing words and phrases, but also quickly understanding their meaning .

For those who have not yet developed listening , an English speech seems like just a series of scrambled sounds. Thus, it is necessary to train the ear so that they begin to become clearer and make sense.

Speaking

Certainly the most desired skill for many people who decide to study this language, speaking is the ability to speak in English . It is something that demands, in addition to a good vocabulary, the learning of new phonemes so that it is possible to pronounce the words clearly, in order to be understood by the interlocutors.

Reading

Reading is the ability to read texts in English. This is one of the language skills most sought after by those who work with documents written in English, for example, and those who take master’s and doctoral courses that require a lot of research in international sources.

In general, reading expands access to knowledge , as it allows reading from newspapers and posts on social networks to books and foreign scientific articles.

Writing

This ability makes it possible for a person to write in English, which makes their texts readable by a large number of people around the world.

Therefore, it is important to have a good knowledge of English grammar so as not to run the risk of sending a wrong message due to apparently simple errors, such as the order of each element of a sentence, for example.

How To Develop Language Skills In English?

Once you understand what English language skills are, you might be curious to find out what you can do to develop them. That’s why we’ve brought some tips aimed at each of the skills. Check out!

Listening

To develop listening skills , it is necessary to train the ear to recognize words and, consequently, sentences in English. The best way to do this is to start listening to a lot of content in that language , which, fortunately, can be found in a variety of ways.

You can learn English with music , taking care to look for the lyrics to accompany the audio and understand how the singer pronounces each word. The same can be done with movies and television series, initially leaving the subtitles in English.

When you feel that you are understanding the language more easily, start watching them without subtitles and see how much you can follow the stories that way.

Speaking

In the same way that audios of various formats help with the oral comprehension of the language, they are also useful for practicing English in order to develop speaking . To work on this skill, however, it is essential to put aside the fear of making mistakes and not be ashamed of trying to speak English loud and clear .

Some ideas to practice speaking are to sing songs in English — the slower ones, preferably —, listen to podcasts and watch scenes from movies and series, or even interviews, pausing at each sentence to have time to repeat them.

In addition, it is interesting to repeat the words that you have the most difficulty with until you get the pronunciation right and, of course, find someone to talk to and put what you have learned into practice.

Reading

To learn to read in English, the way is to constantly practice reading, making it a daily habit . You can start by reading news on the internet, in blogs and in magazines, choosing short texts and topics that pique your interest.

As reading becomes easier, it is important to look for longer texts that require a greater ability to understand, such as literary works. There are even several books that are suitable for those who want to learn English, precisely because they do not have such a complex language.

Writing

There are many ways to develop this skill, and making it a part of everyday life is a good strategy to practice a lot. So, in the beginning, one idea is to write short texts, such as emails to friends and reports about everyday life . Over time, you will get used to it and gain more confidence to develop longer texts.

To write well, however, it is essential to study grammar and expand vocabulary. In this way, you will be able to write using an increasingly formal language, using varied verb constructions and making use of synonyms to avoid repeating terms often.

Linguistic micro-skills

Micro skills consist of using context to give meaning to the word. This is why language skills need these micro-skills to be successful. They often fail due to a lack of specific habits, consistent behaviors, a lack of will, or previous exercise. Language skills with types and characteristics

  • Morphology. It is the part where you have to fluently recognize words, phrases, and their meanings. Use context to give words meaning.
  • Lexicon. It is used to recognize and distinguish the different letters of the alphabet and to know how words should be pronounced.
  • Syntax. It is the part of grammar that teaches how to coordinate and match words to form sentences and express contexts.

Language skills and social cognitive development

It can be said that communicative intentions are the hallmark of shared attention and this presupposes a first indication of the attribution of simple mental states.

Tomasello et al. suggest that joint attention is a determinant cognitive and motivational capacity in shared intentionality and that children are aware of intentions even before they speak. Many studies show that they use intentionality in learning the first words (nouns and verbs).

It depends on the child’s understanding that people are intentional beings who want to communicate through eye contact and joint attention (eg, pointing –> basic mental skill).

To understand the importance of language on Theory of Mind, it is also necessary to understand language development. Here, the importance of the interaction between the adult, the child and the environment for the development of language is highlighted, mainly in the lexical-semantic and pragmatic aspects. Thus, the use of language in increasingly complex contexts, together with the expansion of possibilities of representation, creates significant conditions for socio-cognitive development: it leads to the understanding of others as mental agents, whose behavior is guided by beliefs and desires.

Therefore, language plays a fundamental role in the development of mentalistic capacities. For example, a conversation implies an exchange of thoughts, feelings, desires and beliefs of the people involved.

Language Dimensions:

Syntax: organization of words in a sentence. It relates to false beliefs. Studies show that the key would be mastering the syntax of the complements of sentences, using mainly the verbs “think” and “talk” Ex.: Caio said that the dog is green. –> it is true that he said that the dog is green, however, we are not sure if he really is. Enzo thinks Mom is sad. –> his thinking might be wrong.

Around 4 years of age, children acquire this skill and knowledge to realize that some beliefs can be potentially false.

Semantics: meaning of words and sentences. The development of Theory of Mind is directly related to the acquisition of certain mental verbs: to think, to know, to remember, to imagine… the understanding of synonyms and categories also has a great influence.

Pragmatics: extracting meaning within a context, skills to take into account other people’s beliefs and intentions, as it encompasses skills to use and interpret language in social situations. This pragmatic language skill allows for communicative exchanges, awareness of the existence of various points of view and meaning, and the use of different mental states.

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