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Highly literate people need to master use of the language as an instrument for conveying meaning. At the very least, this means that they need
  • a large vocabulary—so that they will understand whatever they read and have the knowledge necessary to make the best word choices;
  • mastery of the grammatical resources of the language—so that they will be able to choose the most rhetorically appropriate way to phrase their intended meanings; and
  • mastery of linguistic metalanguage—grammatical terms and such concepts as homonymy, ambiguity, and metaphor, and the ability to use this metalanguage to analyze and communicate about the way a text has been phrased.



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