Fostering a love of language in our children is vital; it prevents all of us from being boring if we can get pleasure and enjoyment from our speech. Learning about our language doesn’t need to be about being taught formal structures so we can recite lists of adjectives off by rote, but getting an instinctive understanding of how to use language to our advantage – and so that it becomes instinctive.
I am fascinated by the rules of grammar – my esteemed colleague and friend Melissa Todd (of this very organisation) likes to break the rules – but I am fascinated more by how the rules evolve over time. This is exciting, because language does evolve – and if we try to resist that change, then our language will get very dull and outmoded anyway, at least partly because each new generation won’t have the capacity to express themselves and the new world they live in.
My son is nine, and we are constantly laughing at sounds and word constructions – some of which we make up ourselves, and will never go any further than our family. But we are constantly exploring; we find words in other languages that describe concepts we can’t explain with a single expression. We try (and usually fail) to pronounce them, and occasionally we remember them the next day – and often we forget.
But we never make it formal – we never formalise a learning hour where we write lists of vocabulary, or nouns used in a particular field. There’s a place for learning about a noun, and that’s at school; I want to make sure my son knows how language can be powerful – it can make you happy or sad or angry or inspired. Language should excite us, and we should just have fun with it – or else life can be very boring.
© 2020 Matthew Munson
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
Thanet-based author Matthew has three novels published by Inspired Quill, is an inveterate blogger, and writing is his passion.