Play And Language Analysis

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Four characteristics of play potentially link play and language skills. First, many forms of play enlist symbolic thinking. In object-substitution pretense, for example, props serve as symbols for real objects, as in the classic banana-as-telephone scenario. This relationship between a prop and the object it represents resembles the relationship of a word to its referent. Because both play and linguistic communication share a representational character, play provides children with opportunities to practice forming symbolic relationships (McCune 1995; Miller and Almon 2009; Piaget 1962; Vygotsky 1967). These studies suggest that the connection between play and language development may rely on the shared symbolic nature of both activities. Creating…show more content…
Such frames often involve the need to negotiate roles and coordinate actions, which typically recruits the use of mental-state verbs (e.g., want, explain; Pellegrini and Galda 1990). Further, children often switch back and forth between speaking within the play frame (Can you give me some milk?) and providing commentary or stage directions (I’m the baby; you be the mommy; Bretherton 1989). These two activities— taking on roles and negotiating—point to aspects of social play that appear to encourage children to practice more advanced linguistic forms than they would use in other interactions. Third, the sheer amount of language input available in play also contributes to language development. It is well known that the amount of language children hear strongly relates to their overall linguistic skills (Hart and Risley 1995; Hoff 2006; Hoff and Naigles 2002; Hurtado, Marchman, and Fernald 2008; Tamis-LeMonda and Bornstein 2002). Play with adults and peers bolsters language development because it encourages greater language use. For instance, the amount of time children talk to their peers during play in preschool positively relates to their vocabulary size in kindergarten (Dickinson and Moreton 1991), Finally, play might be important…show more content…
New research suggests that the communicative benefits of play may be observed in the earliest days and weeks of life. For example, advanced motor skills in infancy and toddlerhood have been found to be related to greater language fluency in later childhood and even adolescence—a finding that researchers speculate may be due in part to the connections among motor coordination, brain development, and the physical actions required for fluent speech (Gernsbacher, Sauer, Geye, Schweigert, & Goldsmith, 2008).
Preschool motor play requires a great deal of communication with peers. Children use more words and complex sentences during play than they do in other types of classroom activities (Cohen & Uhry, 2007; Fekonja, Marjanovič Umek, & Kranjc,
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