First Language AcquisitionModule Details
Course Title: First Language Acquisition
Course Code: UU-LIN-2420-ZM
Background and Rationale
This course will start by examining the topic of language acquisition, demarcating the domains for linguistic inquiry. It will challenge everyday assumptions about the way in which children acquire language and introduce key theoretical issues, always assessing the validity of each theory on the basis of empirical evidence. The course will examine the biological basis of language and its localisation and lateralisation, using evidence from both typical and atypical populations. It will evaluate the role of input in language acquisition and the extent to which this facilitates linguistic development. All these issues will be set against an understanding of the normal stages of language acquisition, essentially mapping out the linguistic milestones reached by typically developing children to the age of four. An understanding of the interaction between the components involved (phonology, morphology, semantics, rudimentary structure, pragmatics) will provide the empirical backdrop to assess the efficacy of theoretical models introduced. The course will end, having laid the
foundations for students to undertake a higher level of research in this area.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Demonstrate their understanding of core concepts in linguistic theory, the fundamentals of empirical enquiry and be able to distinguish key theories that have approached the logical problem of language acquisition
Recognise the milestones that characterise typical patterns of language acquisition and be able to link these to standard measures of linguistic stages;
Evaluate the role of environmental, cognitive and linguistic factors in language acquisition, and the relations between them;
Develop lines of argument and make informed judgements, which support/contest theories, on the basis of empirical evidence that they will have considered throughout the course;
Demonstrate an understanding of how to assess the extent to which a child's language is age- and stage- appropriate.
Prerequisites Categories: Semester 1, Semester 2, Semester 3
Typical Module duration: 4.0 Week(s)