Last week I spoke about how children are often willing and able to embrace complex vocabulary, and I’d like to expound on that here.
Never be afraid to use a long word with a young child. Children love playing with language and long, complicated words can be fabulously alluring.
We all have memories of secrets hidden from our parents and other grown-ups, of wanting to mark out the territories in our lives where they were not allowed to go. Sometimes these can be physical spaces, whether a private meeting place or a den or the sacred inner sanctum of a teenager’s bedroom, and sometimes the boundaries are more conceptual.
Language serves this purpose beautifully. In the past, youngsters have used back-slang, pig latin and other fabulously creative inventions to be able to communicate in ways that they suppose adults cannot understand (forgetting that they were once kids too!). I have known groups of children construct highly complex language codes which could be spoken and written fluently by the chosen few.
Have you heard about the recent publishing phenomenon ‘The Lost Words’?
The authors wanted to create a beautiful book to revive once-common words, especially those dealing with nature, excised from the Oxford Junior Dictionary - and it’s really taken off. All over the UK, adults are raising funds to gift copies of the book to schools, including every Primary, Secondary and Special School in Scotland.
It’s a combination of glorious illustrations and poems that the authors liken to spells.
As part of the How to Speak Child project, I have been collecting interviews with children regarding how adults communicate with them. In each of a series of articles I'm writing for Teach Early Years magazine, I’m focussing on one prominent theme. For the most recent issue, my article deals with the issue of SHOUTING!!
My thanks to editor Jacob Stow for allowing reproduction, and if you want to know more, details of this and their other magazines and resources are available at: https://www.teachwire.net