Language Acquisition: The State of the Art

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This book offers a comprehensive study of language development. The contributors, all well-known psychologists, represent a very broad range of theoretical persuasion. Each chapter summarises research on a major problem and relates results to fundamental questions about how children acquire language. Among the issues treated are the role of input in acquisition, the processes of underlying lexical and semantic development, the implications of cross-linguistic research for acquisition theory, the pros and cons of functionalist approaches to language learning and the psychological consequences of a major new formal theory of language learning. In their long and thoughtful introduction, the editors demonstrate the complementarity of studies focused on seemingly separate problems and identify apparent trends, both theoretical and methodological. Taken together, these chapters provide an entry point into an increasingly complex field for the growing number of researchers and students in psychology and linguistics whose work requires an understanding of the child's first steps in language.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521282383
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/30/1982
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Table of Contents

List of contributors; Preface; Part I. The Logic of Language Acquisition: 1. Language acquisition: the state of the state of the art Lila R. Gleitman and Eric Wanner; Part II. Preconditions for Language Acquisition: 2. The resilience of recursion: a study of a communication system developed without a conventional language model Susan Goldin-Meadow; 3. Why short subjects are harder to find than long ones Charles Read and Peter Schreiber; 4. On mechanisms of language acquisition: can features of the communicative environment account for development? Marilyn Shatz; 5. Universal and particular in the acquisition of language Dan I. Slobin; Part III. The Development of Grammar: 6. Functionalist approaches to grammar Elizabeth Bates and Brian MacWhinney; 7. On what cases categories there are, why they are, and how they develop: an amalgam of a priori considerations, speculation and evidence from children Martin D. S. Braine and Judith A. Hardy; 8. The child's construction of grammatical categories Michael Maratsos; 9. The role of universals in the acquisition of gerunds Thomas Roeper; 10. A principle theory for language acquisition Kenneth Wexler; Part IV. Semantic and Lexical Development: 11. Reorganisational processes in lexical and syntactic development Melissa Bowerman; 12. Semantic development: the state of the art Susan Carey; 13. The young word maker: a case study of innovation in the child's lexicon Eve V. Clark; Part V. Alternative Conceptions of Acquisition: 14. Some implications of the nonspecific bases of language T. G. Bever; 15. Task specificity in language learning? Evidence from speech perception and American Sign Language Elissa L. Newport; References; Index.

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