Postgraduate Course: First Language Acquisition (LASC11013)
|School||School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The aim of this course is to introduce students to the principal findings, concepts and models in the field of first language acquisition.
How is it that all typically-developing children acquire language in a relatively short space of time and seemingly without extensive external assistance? To answer this question, the course examines the ways in which aspects of language -- such as phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax -- develop in children, and then discusses theories that have been proposed to explain the observed developmental phenomena in these domains.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 27,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Assignment 1 (50%)
Assignment 2 (50%)
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- describe how language development unfolds in infants and children
- discuss the extent which language acquisition is dependent on various biological, linguistic, cognitive and environmental factors
- explain theories of language acquisition
- critically evaluate theoretical and empirical work on first language acquisition
- analyse developmental data using theories and models discussed in the course
|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.|
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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.
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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).
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
Data processing and quantitative analysis
|Course organiser||Prof Mitsuhiko Ota
Tel: (0131 6)50 3949
|Course secretary||Miss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188