Speech & Language » Later Language Development

Later Language Development

Semantics/ figurative language

The purpose of language is to communicate an idea, want, or need to another individual.  As children increase their vocabulary and grammar skills, semantics and figurative language come into play.  They can add more meaning to given information, or make it sound more interesting.

Semantics is the study of word meaning. Word relationships help children to make connections and increase comprehension when hearing and reading something new. Semantics include;

Antonyms (opposites)   up/down   healthy/ill    seldom/often

Synonyms (same)   joyful/happy    fabulous/awesome     furious/steamed   

Homonyms (multiple meaning words)   sink/sink 

            The dishes are in the sink.     The popped raft will sink.

Homophones   (two words that sound the same but have different spelling and   

             different meanings)    ate/eight       patience/patients

Idioms   (expressions that do not have a literal meaning)

            It’s raining cats and dogs.    You’re driving me crazy.

Similes (comparisons using like or as)

            I’m as mad as a wet hen.     She’s like a bull in a china shop.

Humor and word play are also a part of semantics and figurative language. Jokes and riddles are often based on these.

Once you’ve seen a shopping center, you’ve seen a mall. (You’ve seen them all.)

The mummy was bound to uptight.

It’s raining cats and dogs. Well, as long as it doesn’t reindeer.