Howard Gardner, a Harvard professor, researcher, and author, proposes that
there are eight main areas in which all people have special skills; he calls
them intelligences. Every one of us possesses all the intelligences to various
degrees of development, from highly developed to fairly underdeveloped.
Schools and standardized testing typically teach to and
test for only two of the intelligences: linguistic and logical-mathematical.
This is a shortcoming of the educational system, as many children with other
abilities are overlooked in the process.
In this series, I give some information about each
intelligence, with the hopes that parents will recognize themselves and their
- Linguistic Intelligence: using words, either orally or
written, in an effective manner. This intelligence is associated with
storytellers, politicians, comedians, and writers.
These questions can determine if an adult has a strength in
- Have you always enjoyed books and given them importance?
- Do you hear words in your head before you speak or write
- Do you enjoy talk shows more than television or movies?
- Do you enjoy word games, puns, rhymes, tongue-twisters, and
- Do you have a highly developed vocabulary and enjoy knowing
words that other people do not know?
- In your own education, did you enjoy subjects related to
words and ideas, such as English and social studies, more than math and
- Have you enjoyed learning to read or speak other languages?
- In your speech, do you refer to information that you have
read or heard about?
- Have you been praised, recognized, or paid for your
These are some questions to determine if children may
be exhibiting a well-developing Linguistic Intelligence. Does your child:
- write better than average for her age?
- enjoy telling stories and jokes?
- have a good memory for names, places, dates, and other
- enjoy word games, either visually or auditorally?
- enjoy reading books?
- spell better than other children the same age?
- appreciate rhymes, puns, tongue twisters?
- enjoy books on tape without needing to see the book itself?
- enjoy hearing stories without seeing the book?
- have an excellent vocabulary for his age?
- communicate thoughts, feelings, and ideas well?
All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson.
Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for
individual use. There is a modest charge for printing these columns in
any publication. To receive that permission, contact Jay