Psychologistic Phenomena «Knowledge of the Language» and «Knowledge About Language»: Problems of Relationship and Functioning In Children's Speech

  • Larisa Kalmykova Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi Hryhorii Skovoroda State Pedagogical University, Ukraine
  • Galina Novikova Institute for Strategy of Education Development, Russian Academy of Education
Keywords: knowledge of the language, knowledge about language, language competence of the child, speech, language use, language development


The article is devoted to the coverage of some aspects of preschool and junior school age children’s mastering of language knowledge and knowledge about language, the distinction between these two varieties of knowledge, the disclosure of their differences and features, and the specifics of functioning. It describes some strategies and tactics for the empirical acquisition by preschoolers of language knowledge, in particular: imitation, constructing, unconscious language generalizations, attempts and mistakes, word formation, adaptation to the conditions of speech communication, etc., as well as features of mastering knowledge about language; the procedures for using meta-language and language learned in a natural way are presented; the essence of unconscious, unintentional spontaneous level of children’s learning of language knowledge at the age of 5 years is revealed and the definition of child’s language competence is formulated, under which it means the ability to understand and produce everyday sentences (statements), distinguishing grammatically correct from the wrong ones without changing the meaning of the context to rephrase sentences, phrases, and also microthemes, by making synonymous replacement, to experience lexical and grammatical-stylistic meanings of words, their polysemy, etc. In the article significant differences of language knowledge (knowledge of the language) from knowledge about language are shown, as well as here are presented two kinds of metalanguage knowledge– declarative and procedural, the significance of the latter for the improvement of speech and speech competence of children is substantiated. In the article great attention is also paid to proving the role of different levels of functionality of linguistic and metalanguage knowledge in the production of utterances. The more advanced knowledge is suggested to consider empirical knowledge of the language than studied knowledge about language, especially in those cases where the latter are, firstly, only declarative, and procedural – are absent altogether; secondly, when procedural knowledge is mechanically learned, and therefore they are almost unconscious and non-functional, although they can be explored by children in memory.


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Kalmykova, L., & Novikova, G. (2018). Psychologistic Phenomena «Knowledge of the Language» and «Knowledge About Language»: Problems of Relationship and Functioning In Children’s Speech. PSYCHOLINGUISTICS, (23(1), 99-118.