• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Linguistics
  • Areas of interest Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Blended

Child Language Acquisition (LING6521) is important for anyone who wants to understand how children acquire language. It is an introductory course designed to enable students to acquire an understanding of the process of language acquisition, including how children learn words, learn sounds and learn how to construct grammatically correct sentences. It provides students with the basic skills for carrying out child language acquisition research. Issues covered include collecting, describing and interpreting children's data and reporting research findings. Students will be given an opportunity to analyse some data from a child who is in the process of learning language.

This course is compulsory for graduate students who wish to undertake further research (thesis or sub-thesis) in the area of child language acquisition research. It is recommended for graduate students who wish to undertake further research in applied linguistics. Students should consult with the convenor of Applied Linguistics or their potential supervisor as to whether or not they are required to take the course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to

  1. Assess the level of language ability for a young child by listening to naturally occurring examples of young children talking.
  2. Explain, and argue for, how children learn their first language in terms of phonology, morphosyntax, semantics, interaction and caretaker’s input.
  3. Critically evaluate various language acquisition theories.
  4. Think about, write and present an argument using evidence and results from previous child language research.
  5. Critically summarise child language acquisition readings.

Other Information

This class is co-taught with undergraduate students LING3021. However, LING6521 students have additional tutorials.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment consists of:

  • A critical reading assignment 1500 words (25%) [Learning Outcomes 3,4,5]
  • A theoretical essay 2000 words (30%) [Learning Outcomes 3,4]
  • A data analysis assignment 3000 words (45%) [Learning Outcomes 1,2,4] due in the exam period.

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


2.5 weekly contact hours, plus 7.5 hours of regular work per week outside class.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed LING6001. Alternatively you may gain permission of the Course Convener to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

Gleason, J. B. (ed) (2009) The Development of Language. 7th Edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Preliminary Reading

Wardhaugh, Ronald (1993) How do we learn a language Investigating Language: Central Problems in Linguistics, Basil Blackwell: Oxford.

O'Grady (2005) How Children Learn Language. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.

Students will be given a full reading list at the beginning of the semester. Journals that publish child language acquisition research include, First Language, Journal of Child Language, Language Acquisition, Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behaviour.

Assumed Knowledge

This course introduces graduate students to child language acquisition. Students will need to have some understanding of linguistics (particularly an understanding of phonetics and syntax) before enrolling in this course.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1542
2014 $2478
2013 $2472
2012 $2472
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2286
2005 $2286
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $3618
2014 $3762
2013 $3756
2012 $3756
2011 $3756
2010 $3750
2009 $3618
2008 $3618
2007 $3618
2006 $3618
2005 $3618
2004 $3618
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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