Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


CODE LIN2055

 
TITLE Developmental Psycholinguistics: The Acquisition of a First Language

 
LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course

 
ECTS CREDITS 8

 
DEPARTMENT Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology

 
DESCRIPTION Different theories of language acquisition are considered.

The milestones in the study of language acquisition in the early years are examined in order to appreciate the progress of developmental psycholinguistic theory. A consideration of the data explored by psycholinguists informs the study-unit. This includes the contribution of diaries, small and large samples, longitudinal studies and cross-linguistic studies.

Students will learn about how the brain deals with language. Non-linguistic aspects of language development are also studied. Child Directed Language forms an integral part of the course allowing the student to consider the role of parents and significant others in the child’s language acquisition. This leads to a consideration of wild or feral children.

The acknowledged stages of language acquisition are examined. An in-depth study of the development of phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic aspects is carried out through the examination of cross-linguistic data from the literature. The study includes the language learning strategies that children share and others that may not be so widespread. Some comparisons are made with the learning of more than one language at different stages in life.

The student is then expected to collect his/her own data to illustrate an understanding of the various processes. Successful data collection and transcription together with analysis are the final goals. Various transcription tools are used to enable the student to present all relevant details present in the data collected.

Workshops are used as a forum for sharing, discussing and evaluating.

Study-unit Aims:

The student should be able to appreciate the complexity of what children learn when they acquire language. The should understand the milestones in the study of language acquisition in the early years as well as similarities and differences between children learning their first language. They should understand different ways of collecting data and learn about it through their own data collection.

Students will also learn about how the brain deals with language. Students will also learn about non-linguistic aspects of language development, about Child Directed Language as well as about wild or feral children.

An in-depth study of the development of phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic aspects of children is carried out.

The student is then expected to collect his/her own data to illustrate an understanding of the various processes. Successful data collection and transcription together with analysis are the final goals. Various transcription tools are used to enable the student to present all relevant details present in the data collected.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- understand what children learn in language acquisition and what the factors are that make this unique for every child;
- understand different theories of language acquisition;
- understand the various factors that contribute to language acquisition;
- know the different developmental stages involved and understand the different linguistic levels involved.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- collect, transcribe and analyse child language data;
- discuss child language data and appreciate how language acquisition can be viewed from different perspectives.
- construct linguistic profiles with details of the phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic levels of language on the basis of observation and transcribed data.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

*Cattell, R. (Rev. Ed) 2007. Children’s Language London: Cassell
*Clark, E.V. (2nd Ed.) 2009. First Language Acquisition Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Crain, S. & Lillo-Martin, D. 1999. An Introduction to Linguistic Theory and Language Acquisition Oxford: Blackwell
Fletcher, P. and Garman, M. (eds.) 1986. Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
*Halliday, M. A. K. 1975. Learning How to Mean. London: Edward Arnold
Harris, J. 1990. Early Language Development. London: Routledge
*Ingram, D. 1989. First Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Gallaway, C. & Richards, B.J. (ed.) 1994 Input and Interaction in Language Acquisition Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Lanza, E. 2004 Language Mixing in Infant Bilingualism A Sociolinguistic Perspective Oxford: Oxford University Press
*Lust, B.C. & Foley, C. 2004 First Language Acquisition The Essential Readings Oxford: Blackwell Publ.
Ochs, E., and B. B. Schieffelm (eds.) 1983. Acquiring Conversational Competence. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul
*Slobin, D.I. (ed.) 1985 The Crosslinguistic Study of Language Acquisition Volumes 1 & 2 Hillsdale, New Jersey, London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Tomasello, M. & Bates, E. (eds.) 2001 Language Development The Essential Readings Oxford: Blackwell Publ.
Wells, G. 1981. Learning Through Interaction. Cambridge Cambridge University Press
Wells, G. 1985. Language Development in the Pre-school Years. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Wells, G. 1987 The Meaning Makers London: Hodder & Stoughton

*Highly recommended

 
RULES/CONDITIONS While TAKING THIS UNIT YOU ARE ADVISED TO TAKE LIN2020

 
STUDY-UNIT TYPE Fieldwork, Lecture & Workshop

 
METHOD OF ASSESSMENT
Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

 
LECTURER/S Josette Portelli

 
The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

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