One of the most remarkable properties of humans is that we acquire a very complex linguistic interactional system early in life. Along the way, children make adjustments to how they produce utterances and interpret what they hear. Understanding out how we do this takes us on a fascinating journey, visiting research highlights that speak to the core of human cognition and social interaction. What psycholinguistic processes explain an utterance such as "Nail polish me!" or "We holded the baby rabbits"? What conclusions can we draw about what is universal in language development versus what is language or culture specific? Do children always imitate their care-givers or do they bring innovations into a language? We will explore the development of language abilities from several perspectives, including unilingual and multilingual contexts, and across languages of different types, drawing on differing theoretical approaches.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- assess the level of language ability for a young child by listening to naturally occurring examples of young children talking;
- explain, and argue for, how children learn their first language in terms of phonology, morphosyntax, semantics, interaction and caretaker's input;
- critically evaluate various language acquisition theories; and
- think about, write and present an argument using evidence and results from previous child language research.
Indicative AssessmentPhonological analysis of a child’s language production, including transcription of real data, 500 words (25%). [Learning Outcomes 1, 2]
Morphosyntactic analysis of a child’s language production, 500 words (25%). [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 4]
Major research essay, 3000 words (40%). [Learning Outcomes 2, 3, 4]
Class participation and discussion (10%). [Learning Outcomes 2, 3, 4]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact: 24 hours of lectures, 12 hours of tutorial; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
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.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
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- 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.
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