Like speech, language develops according to a timetable. As the child
develops a vocabulary, first words with their underlying
meanings are then combined to create utterances
according to rules of syntax and grammar. While the
child is learning the vocabulary, syntax and grammar of
her language, she is also learning the social customs
regarding its use. These are internalized as pragmatic
whose language development lags significantly from the
developmental timetable may be considered
developmentally delayed in language acquisition. A child
with a language disorder may not use the language
commensurate with her peers. She may be delayed in
acquiring the vocabulary, syntax, grammar and pragmatics
of her age mates. The child may have some of the
characteristics of the language expected for her age,
say vocabulary, but may be behind in syntax. Another
child may have difficulty understanding the pragmatics
of language and not know what to say in a given
situation, whereas vocabulary may be limited in yet
another. These problems in language development may be
correlated with problems in later developing
language-related areas such as reading.
In this course I will discuss some of
the main topics and questions in the field. What
problems and puzzles face infants as they start to learn
language? And what puzzles do we face in trying to find
out what they know?
mapping of form and meaning
two-word stage / simple sentences
One part of
the Developmental studies Summer paper
(1996) or (2001). Language development: an introduction. Allyn
(2001). Understanding children with language problems. CUP.
(2000). Children’s language: consensus and Controversy.
C. & Richards, B. (1984). Input and interaction in
language acquisition. CUP.
C.A. & Slobin, D.I. (1973). Studies in child language
P. & MacWhinney, B. (1995).
The handbook of child language. Blackwell.
K. & Golinkoff, R.F. (1982). The origins of grammar:
evidence from early language comprehension. MIT press.
D. (1989). First language acquisition: method, description and
& Demuth, K. (1996). Signal to syntax: bootstrapping from
speech to grammar in early acquisition. Lawrence Erlbaum.
G. & Woll, B. (2002). (eds)
New directions in sign language acquisition.
Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
& Gleitman, L.R. (1982). Language acquisition: the state
of the art. CUP
to research papers appearing in Journals and Books will be
given at each lecture and copies provided for some of these in
the Red Box.
Cognitive Psychology, First
Language, Journal of Child
Language (JCL), Journal of
Psycholinguistic research (JPR), Language
and Cognitive Processes, Monographs
of the Society for Research in Child Development (MSRCD)
chapters, papers, handouts etc will be placed in a labeled reading box in the student photo-copying room.
Please think of others when using this material.
I am free
most days for brief enquiries.
Email or leave a note in my pigeon-hole to book a time
for longer discussion (better in groups for this)
You can visit a lot of
websites that have lectures, papers and other very relevant
information on language acquisition - get surfing!
(working at time of
to Language and Language Acquisition
piece on language acquisition
Child Language Data Exchange System.
Tools for studying children's language acquisition
through the study of conversational interactions. The site
features a database of transcripts, programs for analysis, and
methods of coding data, among other things.
overview of the field and brief descriptions of its
introduction to the patterning of sounds, words, and phrases.
Includes exercises and sound clips.
of babbling in language acquisition
of baby babbling: what
type of babbling is this?
of video and audio clips of sounds around the world
the full IPA chart and audio files, as well as information on
from a phonetics course at the University of Manitoba,
including phonetic transcriptions of English, vocal tract
anatomy, properties of consonants and vowels, and acoustic
phonetics, among other things.
homepage for a course at Yale. Includes lecture materials and
interactive tutorials from University College London are part
of a project called System for Interactive Phonetics Training
and Assessment. They include voicing, plosives (i.e., stops),
and other topics.
MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories.
These are parent report forms to assess the development
of language and communication in children. Included are
lexical norms for English vocabulary acquisition showing when
particular words and expressions are acquired.
short essay from Robert BeardĴs files illustrating what
morphology is begins with "Jabberwocky," compares
lexemes and morphemes, and makes a stop at Tagalog
reduplication along the way.
definition and illustration of the concept of a morpheme using
examples from English.
words or why people arenĴt couth, kempt or ruly
lighthearted introduction to syntax from Robert BeardĴs
lighthearted introduction to syntax from Robert BeardĴs
engine translates entire paragraphs back and forth between
English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Language Acquisition and Bilingualism
of the Brain. An
outline with illustrations for students. Includes concise
sections on BrocaĴs area and WernickeĴs area
different parts of the brain do
Do Different Parts of the Brain Do?
Question 12 in a series of frequently asked questions
written for stroke victims and their families features a
clear, color-coded, numbered diagram of the left hemisphere,
with an explanation. Scroll down to read question 13
concerning speech problems.
Acquisition in Special Circumstances
isolates (ĺwild childrenĹ):
#2112G: Secret of the Wild Child.
The broadcast transcript of a Nova program on
Genie. Includes interview material with Susan Curtiss and
others involved in caring for Genie and studying her
GUIDE FOR LANGUAGE
hints for doing well in this class:
Come to every class and take good notes.
If you do miss a class, get the notes from a classmate.
I stress different topics in my lectures than those
stressed in the readings. The material I stress in lecture tends to appear on exams.
Spend 10 minutes immediately after each lecture going
over your lecture notes, reconstructing the lecture and making
sure you understand the "key concepts" for the day.
Spend the 10 minutes before each lecture going over the
lecture notes and "key concepts" from the previous
Try to at least skim the assigned readings before each
When you go back and reread the books, use the lecture
notes to guide your reading.
If you are having trouble with one of the readings for
a topic, talk to me about supplementary readings.
If you don't understand something said in the lectures
or in the readings, let me know.
Ask a question in class or come to my office hours.
Chances are if you are confused, others are too.
Use your lecture notes and the "key concepts" to
review for exams
Form study groups and quiz each other on key concepts.
Do not try to cram.
The material in this course builds on itself, just like
in a math or physics course and the exams are cumulative.
If you don't learn the material in the beginning of the
course, you are going to be lost.