In the next two weeks, I am going to offer some ideas taken from an excellent book for teachers:  Language Development: A Reader for Teachers by Powers and Hubbard.   The first article addresses the functions of language, based on the work of Michael Halliday.

Pinnell: Functions of Language

Halliday’s 7 functions….what we can do with language:

Instrumental: I want an ice cream cone.

Regulatory: You have to read the book first.

Interactional: Do you want to play with me?

Personal: I like riding my bike.

Imaginative: Once I saw a super hero.

Heuristic: Why doesn’t that work?

Representational: It rained all day yesterday.

In addition to these functions, Halliday/Pinnell highlight the following principles of learning to use language effectively:

*Form FOLLOWS function.

*Learning in CONTEXT is critical.

*Understanding PEER language is key.

*Working TOGETHER on REAL Problems is essential.

*ATTENTION to a RANGE of functions, both social and cognitive is the challenge.

*Children need to EXPERIMENT/PRACTICE the language skills they are learning.