The componets of the language reading would not exist without the human capacity for language. Because
the components of language and their associated terminology align with our demarcations for many of the
elements of reading, they are described briefly in this section. Linguists have identified five basic components
(phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics) found across languages.
Syntax: The study of how individual words and
their most basic meaningful units are combined
to create sentences is known as syntax. As
words are grouped together when we
Phonology: The study of speech structure
within a language, including both the patterns
of basic speech units and the accepted rules
of pronunciation, is known as phonology. The
smallest units of sound that make up a
language are called phonemes.
Morphology: Moving to the next level of
language, we find the study of the
smallest units of meaning, morphemes.
Morphemes include base words, such as
“hat,” “dog,” or “love,” as well as affixes,
such as “un-,” “re-,” the plural “s” or “es,”
and the past tense “ed.” Knowledge of
the morphology of our language is critical
to vocabulary development and reflects
the smallest building blocks for
Pragmatics:“‘Pragmatics’ refers to the ways the
members of the speech community achieve their
goals using language, in specific context. Facility with
language is critical to social interactions.
Semantics: Not only does the grammatical
structure of our language provide the needed
clues for understanding, we also have a wealth
of figurative language and rich description that
adds color and nuance to ouy communication.
Meaningd in language.