'As this volume in the Collected Works makes clear, Halliday's interest in
early language development is not just an interesting sideline, distinct
from his major work in developing a systemic functional account of
language. Halliday's trail-blazing and detailed study of what children
progressively become able to do through acts of meaning is at the same time
an attempt to understand how language gradually developed in the human
species, as a resource for both construing experience and enacting
interpersonal relationships. The chapters in this volume constitute an
important contribution to both these agendas. Halliday's work on language
development has also been instrumental in gaining recognition for the
central role of linguistic meaning making in the successive phases of
education, from preschool chat to academic writing. This important
collection has much to offer to all social scientists and educators as well
as to students of language development.'
Professor Gordon Wells, University of California Santa Cruz.
The Language of Early Childhood contains sixteen papers presented in three
parts: infancy and protolanguage; the transition from child tongue to
mother tongue; and early language and learning. The transcripts of
Professor Halliday's sociolinguistic account of the early linguistic
development of one particular child, Nigel, are included as a CD with this
Professor M. A. K. Halliday (b. 1925) was Foundation Professor of
Linguistics at the University of Sydney until his retirement and has taught
as a Visiting Professor around the world. As a self-styled 'generalist' he
has published in many branches of linguistics.
Jonathan J. Webster is Head of the Department of Chinese, Translation and
Linguistics at the City University of Hong Kong.