August 18, 2022

Linguistic Intelligence, being word smart.

Hi! I am here again doing one of those things I love doing. Yes! Writing! Making me word smart verbally and in writing. I can run my mouth like an overflowing ocean effectively, and use the power of the pen in convincing your soul without tweaking. Anyways, that isn’t why we are here. Let’s me break the ice by dwelling on the subject matter of concern — linguistic intelligence.

For newcomers, have you seen my piece on multiple intelligence? If no, check out the overview and significance of it here.

Linguistic intelligence, one of Howard Gardner’s eight multiple intelligences, encompasses the capacity to understand and use spoken and written language. This can include expressing and communicating yourself effectively through speech or the written word as well as showing a facility for learning new tongues. 

Writers, poets, lawyers, journalists, columnists, and public speakers are among those having high linguistic intelligence. Interesting right!

To understand linguistic intelligence, it is significant to understand the mechanisms that control speech and language. These mechanisms can be broken down into four major groups: speech generation (talking), speech comprehension (hearing), writing generation (writing), and writing comprehension (reading).

In a logical sense, linguistic intelligence is the magnitude to which a person can use language, both written and verbal, to achieve goals. It is a part of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory that deals with individuals’ ability to understand both spoken and written language, as well as their ability to speak and write themselves. It is much more than what can be measured on a test.

Intriguingly, Gardner listed linguistic intelligence as the very first intelligence in his original book on the subject, “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences,” published in 1983. This is one of the two bits of intelligence — the other being logical-mathematical intelligence — that most closely resemble the skills measured by standard Intelligent Quotient (IQ) tests. But Gardner argues that linguistic intelligence is much more than what can be measured on a test.

Famous People With High Linguistic Intelligence

William Shakespeare: Arguably history’s greatest playwright, Shakespeare wrote plays that have enthralled audiences for more than four centuries. He coined or popularized many of the words and phrases we still use today. 

Robert Frost: A poet laureate of Vermont, Frost read his well-known poem “The Gift Outright” at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy on Jan. 20, 1961, according to Wikipedia. Frost wrote classic poems, such as “The Road Not Taken,” which are still widely read and admired today.

J.K. RowlingThis contemporary English author used the power of language and imagination to create a mythical, magical world of Harry Potter, which has captivated millions of readers and moviegoers over the years.

For the records, there are practical ways to Enhance and Encourage Linguistic Intelligence. Teachers can help their students enhance and strengthen their linguistic intelligence by:

  1. Writing about a life incident.
  2. Writing in a magazine/journal.
  3. Writing a group story.
  4. Learning a few new words each week
  5. Creating a magazine or website devoted to something that interests them.
  6. Writing letters to family, friends or pen pals.
  7. Reading and summarizing comprehensive passages
  8. Listening to fictional stories
  9. Playing word games like squabble.
  10. Reading books, magazines, newspapers and even jokes
  11. Debating and Discussing intellectually.

Gardner gives some advice in this area. He talks, in “Frames of Mind,” about Jean-Paul Sartre, a famous French philosopher, and novelist who was “extremely precocious” as a young child but “so skilled at mimicking adults, including their style and register of talk, that by age five he could enchant audiences with his linguistic fluency.” By age 9, Sartre was writing and expressing himself — developing his linguistic intelligence. In the same way, as a teacher, you can enhance your students’ linguistic intelligence by giving them opportunities to express themselves creatively both verbally and through the written word.

If you find this piece interesting, do well to share it with your friends and network.

Adeyinka Meduoye

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