The remarkable way in which young children acquire language has long
fascinated linguists and developmental psychologists alike. Language is a
skill that we have essentially mastered by the age of three, and with
incredible ease and speed, despite the complexity of the task. This
accessible textbook introduces the field of child language acquisition,
exploring language development from birth into the early childhood years.
Setting out the key theoretical debates, it considers questions such as
what characteristics of the human mind make it possible to acquire
language; how far acquisition is biologically programmed and how far it is
influenced by our environment; what makes second language learning (in
adulthood) different from first language acquisition; and whether the
specific stages in language development are universal across languages.
Clear and comprehensive, it is set to become a key text for all courses in
child language acquisition, within linguistics, developmental psychology
and cognitive science.