Child Language
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Child Language
Acquisition and Development



© 2010 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

The acquisition of language is a staggering feat, yet one that all typically developing children manage by the time they reach school age. Child Language: Acquisition and Development presents the latest thinking and research on how children acquire or develop their first language, written and developed in a manner that will be stimulating and interesting for a range of undergraduate students.

The reader is taken from a standing start to the point where they can engage with key debates and current research in the field of child language. No background knowledge of linguistic theory is assumed and all specialist terms are introduced in clear, non-technical language. A theme running through the book is the nature-nurture debate, rekindled in the modern era by Noam Chomsky, with his belief that the form language takes in the child is largely determined by genetic factors. This book is rare in its balanced presentation of evidence from both sides of the nature-nurture divide; in effect, it uniquely presents a case for language acquisition and development.

The reader is encouraged to adopt a critical stance throughout and weigh the evidence for themselves. Key features for the student include:

  • boxes and exercises to foster an understanding of key concepts in language and linguistics;
  • a glossary of key terms; suggestions for further reading;
  • a list of useful websites at the end of each chapter;
  • discussion points for use in class;
  • and separate author and subject indexes.

Child Language: Acquisition and Development is an indispensable textbook for undergraduate students in Psychology, Linguistics, Education and Childhood studies.

Landmarks in the Landscape of Child Language
Can Animals Acquire Human Language? Shakespeare's Typewriter
The Critical Period Hypothesis: Now or Never?
Input and Interaction: Tutorials for Toddlers
Language in the First Year: Breaking the Sound Barrier
The Developing Lexicon: What's in a Name?
The Acquisition of Morphology: Linguistic Lego
Linguistic Nativism: To the Grammar Born
The Usage-Based Approach: Making It up as You Go along
You Say Nature, I Say Nurture: Better Call the Calling off off

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One

Chapter Two


This book presents a clear, erudite, state-of-the art account of the complexities of child language. I highly recommend it to undergraduate, graduate students and researchers alike.

Carol Goldfus
Levinsky College of Education, Israel
Educational Review

Really comprehensive and accessible text for students studying the acquisition of language. Valuable for undergraduate and post graduate students.

Ms Caroline Brooks
Faculty of Development & Society, Sheffield Hallam University
March 1, 2016

A most helpful resource for our masters level cohort researching dyslexia and associated difficulties. A secure understanding of the development of child language is key to underpinning their learning.

Miss Rebecca Tall
Faculty of Edu & Children's Services, Chester University
November 9, 2015

This book is written in an accessible style which engages the reader. It covers all the key aspects of child language acquisition and includes some interesting research conducted by the author. An excellent text.

Mrs Mandy Pierlejewski
Higher Education Applied Social Sciences, Stockport College
May 21, 2015

This is an excellent, up-to-date introduction to the key issues in child language acquisition. I particularly valued the detailed critical evaluation of different theoretical approaches. My module is a general module on psycholinguistics, which is why this book would not work as the sole module textbook. But I will be strongly recommending it for the topics on child language acquisition.

Dr Anu Koskela
Department of English, De Montfort University
March 6, 2015
Key features
Key features:
  • Boxes and exercises to foster an understanding of key concepts in language and linguistics
  • A glossary of key terms
  • Suggestions for further reading
  • A list of useful websites at the end of each chapter
  • Discussion points for use in class
  • Separate author and subject indexes

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ISBN: 9781412902328
ISBN: 9781412902311