Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 July 2002
This is a position paper modelling the domain of linguistic literacy and its development through the life span. It aims to provide a framework for the analysis of language development in the school years, integrating sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic notions of variation, language awareness, and literacy in a comprehensive model. The paper focuses on those aspects of literacy competence that are expressed in language as well as aspects of linguistic knowledge that are affected by literacy competence, tracing the route that children take in appropriating linguistic literacy as part of their cognitive abilities and examining the effect of literacy on language across development. Our view of linguistic literacy consists of one defining feature: control over linguistic variation from both a user-dependent (‘lectal’) and a context-dependent (modality, genre, and register) perspective; of one concomitant process: metalanguage and its role in language development; and of one condition: familiarity with writing and written language from two aspects: written language as discourse style – the recognition that the kind of language used for writing is essentially different from the one used for speech; and written language as a notational system – the perception and growing command of the representational system that is used in the written modality. Linguistic literacy is viewed as a constituent of language knowledge characterized by the availability of multiple linguistic resources and by the ability to consciously access one's own linguistic knowledge and to view language from various perspectives.
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