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ERIC Number: ED171432
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1979-May
Pages: 36
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Language Play.
Schwartz, Judy I.
This paper discusses kinds and characteristics of language play, explores the relationship of such play to wider domains of language and play, and speculates on the possible contributions of language play for language mastery and cognitive development. Jump rope chants and ritual insults ("Off my case, potato face") and other expressive language use by children indicate that children have a particularly keen metalingual awareness. They play with the sound, syntax and semantic dimensions of words ("He is sinking-up the rock"). Salient features of language play are regular cadence, repetitiveness and symmetrical pattern. When children have developed the ability to take the perspective of others, they can invent verbal games with explicit rules. Language play gives pleasure, provides practice in handling words, and facilitates mastery of the syntax of language. Through playing with language children verify the reality of language and confirm their knowledge of objects and events. Word play provides children with opportunities to structure experience and order reality by imposing rules on it. While systematic studies of language play are rare, it has been suggested that language play may contribute to later success in reading and writing. Teachers may support very young children's play with language by indirect methods. Later, tongue twisters, puns, pictographs, cryptograms and typographical poetry may be introduced in a classroom atmosphere which supports word play. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses; Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A