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The Function and Nature of Communication

He stresses childrens’ use of language toexpresstheirunderstanding of the world and its meaning for them, as well as expressing needs, feelings etc. The context forthis is grounded in the child’s own direct experience, and the function of language is fundamentally a social need to communicate. Thus both the intellectual and the social bases of communication are identified. Intellectual understanding influencesthe content and meaning and social relationships inf luence its use and effectiveness. Two new theoretical approaches which have arisen from numerous studies are known asthe psycholinguistic and the sociolinguistic approach. (See Goldbart 1988a for a more detailed account.)

As evolving theories show, the linguistic, intellectual and social aspects of the situation in which children acquire language are dependent upon each other, and evolve in a mutually supportive way. Hence the skills or attainment targets to be identified in the development of the process of communication, including speaking and listening, should have three main components: intellectual, linguistic and social.