THE UNIVERSITY of EDINBURGH

DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2015/2016

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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Language Sciences

Postgraduate Course: First Language Acquisition (LASC11013)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe aim of this course is to introduce students to the principal findings, concepts and models in the field of first language acquisition.
Course description The central question addressed is: How is it that all typically-developing children acquire language in a relatively short space of time and seemingly without extensive external assistance? Concentrating primarily on phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax, the course surveys and examines theories that have been proposed to explain the observed developmental phenomena in these domains.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesNone
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 27, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 167 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Critical reviews (50%) and data analysis project (50%)

Assignment 1: Critical Review
Deadline: Thursday 5th November 2015, 12 noon
Word limit: 3300 (3000 words and 10% above leeway)
Return deadline: 27th November 2015

Assignment 2: Data Analysis
Deadline: Thursday 17th December 2015, 12 noon
Word limit: 2750 (2500 words and 10% above leeway)
Return deadline: 22nd January 2016
Feedback Assessment 1 (critical review): a) Students will be given a sample review that follows the format requirements and content expectations along with the assignment instructions. b) Useful perspectives on critical evaluation of the relevant articles will be addressed in paper discussions during tutorials.

Assessment 2 (data analysis): During the lab session, students will be a) given short exercises to practice commands that can be used for the data analysis, and b) walked through a sample analysis.

Comments provided on submitted assessments
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand what relative roles linguistic input and biological factors play in language acquisition
  2. understand what models have been proposed to explain the acquisition of speech abilities, phonology, inflectional morphology and syntax
  3. understand how children initiate the acquisition of syntax and semantics without a priori knowledge of the target language
  4. understand how does bilingual first language acquisition proceed
Reading List
Aslin, R. A. and Newport, E. L. (2012). Statistical learning: From acquiring specific items to forming general rules. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21, 170-176.

Bialystok, E. (2009). Bilingualism: The good, the bad, and the indifferent. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12, 3-11.

De Lange, J., Vasic, N. and Avrutin, S. (2009). Reading between the (head)lines: a processing account of article omission in newspaper headlines and child speech. Lingua, 119, 1523-1540.

Diesendruck, G. (2009). Mechanisms of word learning. In E. Hoff & M. Shatz (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of language development (pp. 257-276). Oxford: Blackwell.

Eisenbeiss, S. (2009). Generative approaches to language learning. Linguistics, 47, 273-310.

Fernald, A., Perfors, A., & Marchman, V. (2006). Picking up speed in understanding: speech processing efficiency and vocabulary growth across the 2nd year. Developmental Psychology, 42, 98-116.

Fodor, J. & Crowther, C. (2002). Understanding stimulus poverty arguments. The Linguistic Review, 19,105-145.

Karmiloff, K., & Karmiloff-Smith, A. (2001). Experimental paradigms for studying language acquisition. In K. Karmiloff & A. Karmiloff-Smith, Pathways to language: From fetus to adolescence (pp. 10-42). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lany, J., & Saffran, J. R. (2013). Statistical learning mechanisms in infancy. In J. Rubenstain & P. Rakic (Eds.), Comprehensive developmental neuroscience: Neural circuit development and function in the brain, vol. 3 (pp. 231-248). New York: Academic Press.

Lieven, E. (2006). Language development: Overview. In K. Brown (Ed.), Encyclopedia of language and linguistics (pp. 376-391). Amsterdam/Boston: Elsevier.

McClelland, J. L., & Patterson, K. (2002). Rules of connections in past-tense inflections: What does the evidence rule out? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 6, 465-472.

Marcus, G. (1996). Why do children say 'breaked'? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 5, 81-85.

Meisel, J. (2004). The bilingual child. In T. K. Bhatia and W. C. Ritchie (Eds.), The handbook of bilingualism. Oxford: Blackwell.

Pullum, G. & Scholz, B. (2002). Empirical assessment of stimulus poverty arguments. The Linguistic Review, 19, 9-50.

Radford, A. (1999). Children: architects or brickies? Proceedings of the 19th Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development.

Rizzi, L. 2005. On the grammatical bases of language development: a case study. In G. Cinque and R. Kayne (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Syntax. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Saffran, J., Werker, J. A., & Werner, L. A. (2006). The infant's suditory world: Hearing, speech, and the beginnings of language. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology, Volume 2: Cognition, perception, and language (pp. 59-108). Hoboken, N. J.: John Wiley & Sons.

Saxton, M. (2008). What's in a name? Coming to terms with the child's linguistic environment. Journal of Child Language, 35, 677-686.

Seidenberg, M. and MacDonald, M. (1999). A probabilistic constraint approach to language acquisition and processing. Cognitive Science, 23, 569-588.

Serratrice, L., Sorace, A. and Paoli, S. (2004). Subjects and objects in Italian-English bilingual and monolingual acquisition. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 7, 183-206.

Song, H. and Fisher, C. (2007). Discourse prominence effects on 2.5-year-old children┐s interpretation of pronouns. Lingua, 117, 1959-1987.

Sorace, A. and Serratrice, L. (2009). Internal and external interfaces in bilingual language development: Beyond structural overlap. International Journal of Bilingualism, 13, 195-210.

Stager, C. L., & Werker, J. F. (1997). Infants listen for more phonetic detail in speech perception than in word-learning tasks. Nature, 388, 381-382.

Stoel-Gammon, C., & Sosa, A. (2009). Phonological development. In E. Hoff & M. Shatz (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of language development (pp. 238-256). Oxford: Blackwell.

Swingley, D., & Aslin, R. (2002). Lexical neighborhoods and the word-form representations of 14-month-olds. Psychological Science, 13, 480-484.

Theakston, A., Lieven, E. and Tomasello, M. (2003). The role of the input in the development of third person singular verbs in English. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 46, 863-877.

Trueswell, J., Sekerina, I., Hill, N., & Logrip, M. (1999). The kindergarten-path effect: studying on-line sentence processing in young children. Cognition, 73, 89-134

Valian, V. and Casey, L. (2003). Young children's acquisition of wh-questions: the role of structured input. Journal of Child Language, 30, 117-143.

Vihman, M. (forthcoming). Infant vocal production. In M. Vihman, Phonological development: The origins of language in the child (second edition). Oxford: Blackwell.

Vouloumanos, A., & Werker, J. F. (2007). Listening to language at birth: Evidence for a bias for speech in neonates. Developmental Science, 10, 159-171.

Waxman, S. R., & Lidz, J. L. (2006). Early word learning. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology, Volume 2: Cognition, perception, and language (pp. 299-335). Hoboken, N. J.: John Wiley & Sons.

Yang, C. (2004). Universal Grammar, statistics, or both? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 451-456.

Yang, C. (2010). Who's afraid of George Kingsley Zipf? (Submitted).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Attend all lectures as scheduled
KeywordsNot entered
Contacts
Course organiserDr Jennifer Culbertson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5510
Email: Jennifer.Culbertson@ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
Email: Toni.noble@ed.ac.uk
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