LINGUIST List 12.1686

Thu Jun 28 2001

Sum: Recommended Language Acquisition Texts

Editor for this issue: Marie Klopfenstein <>


  1. Catherine Rudin/HU/AC/WSC, Acquisition text

Message 1: Acquisition text

Date: Wed, 27 Jun 2001 16:37:01 -0500
From: Catherine Rudin/HU/AC/WSC <>
Subject: Acquisition text

Some time back I posted a query, seeking recommendations for
a textbook for a language acquisition class (first and
second language) aimed at teacher education students with no
linguistics background, who will be involved in teaching a
Native American language at elementary and high school
levels. There were lots of helpful replies. No one had the
perfect book that would do everything I asked for, and there
was little concensus on a few "best texts" -- few books were
listed by more than one person, and several people commented
that they are not entirely happy with the textbooks they are
using now. However, several of the recommended books look
promising. See list below, grouped into general acquisition
texts & works on learning of Native American languages.

The one general text mentioned favorably by several people
was Lightbown and Spada (1993), which got comments like
"very accessible" and "has nearly everything you asked for".
I'm planning to try this one for my class, along with some
shorter readings on Native American languages and other

Those who replied with suggestions were Renate Ludanyi,
Peggy McCardle, Sabrina Peck, Alice Horning, Lynn
Santelmann, Charlotte Webb, Bob Yates, Gregory Duncan,
Michelle Haj-Broussard, Harriet Taber, Shanley Allen, Rachel
Lagunoff, Wendy Smith, Janet Eyring, Anthea Gupta, Julie
Reineman, Charlotte (Charley) Basham -- thanks again to

Several others made no recommendations, but expressed
interested in a summary. Here it is.

General acquisition textbooks suggested were the following:
(a number in parentheses following is the number of people
who suggested the book)

H. D. Brown, Principles of Language Learning and Teaching
(Prentice Hall Regents).

Brown and Gonzo, Readings in Second Language Acquisition

Helen Smith Cairns, The Acquisition of Language, 2nd ed.
(1996) Pro-ed

Viginia P. Clark, Paul A. Escholz & Alfred F. Rosa, eds.,
1998, Language: Readings in Language and Culture, Sixth
Edition. St. Martin's Press. (in combination with more
specific texts)

Curtain and Pesola, Languages and Children: Making the
Match, Longman

Philip Dale. Language Development (new edition?)

Genesee, Fred, ed. (1994) Educating Second Language
Children: The whole child, the whole curriculum, the whole
community. Cambridge MA: Cambridge

Jean Berko Gleason, The Development of Language (Allyn &
Bacon), 4th ed. (2)

Glisan and Shrum, Teachers' Handbook: Contextualized
Language Instruction, Heinle & Heinle (2) (or Shrum &

Alice Omaggio Hadley. Teaching Language in Context. Heinle
& Heinle (2)

Hoff. Language Development, second edition,
Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Lightbown, Patsy and Nina Spada. 1993. How languages are
learned. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press. (4)

Bill Van Patten & Brandon Lee, Making Communicative Language
Teaching Happen

Peccei, Jean Stilwell. 1999 (2nd edn). Child Language.
London/New York: Routledge.

Terry Piper. Language and Learning: The Home and School
Years (Prentice Hall).

Walt Wolfram, Carolyn Temple Adger & Donna Christian.
Dialects in Schools and Communities (Erlbaum) 1999

Resources at the Center for Applied Linguistics

The most useful information about work on acquisition of
Native American languages was sent by Shanley Allen, who
For articles about teaching in Inuit cultural contexts,
search for things by Martha Crago and Alice Eriks-Brophy.
Both have done research on teaching by both Inuit and
"white" teachers in Inuit communities in northern Quebec,
and their work is very helpful. ....
I have written and coauthored several articles about the
acquisition of Inuktitut by Inuit children in northern
Quebec. Probably the most accessible is:
Crago, M.B. & Allen, S.E.M. (1998). Acquiring Inuktitut. In
O. Taylor & L. Leonard (Eds.), Language acquisition across
North America: Cross-cultural and cross-linguistic
perspectives (pp. 245-279). San Diego, CA: Singular
Publishing Group
For other work on acquisition of Native American languages,
search for articles by Marianne Mithun (Mohawk), Clifton Pye
(K'iche' Mayan), Michael Fortescue (West Greenlandic),
Muriel Saville-Troike (Navaho), Willem de Reuse (Apache),
Ellen Courtney (Quechua), Irene Mazurkewich (Labrador
Inuttut). You could also check the journal listings on the
website of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous
Languages of the Americas, at .

Charlotte Basham also wrote about the Native American
languages acquisition question:
You probably know of the Stabilizing Indigenous Languages
books published by Northern Arizona University. They are
useful, and I have photocopied some of the articles for my
students, but they don't really get at the meat of
acquisition, as far as I'm concerned.
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