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Summary Details

Query:   Recommended Language Acquisition Texts
Author:  Catherine Rudin/HU/AC/WSC
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Language Acquisition

Summary:   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 issues.

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 all.

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 (Pearson).

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 & Glisan?)

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 wrote: 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.

LL Issue: 12.1686
Date Posted: 28-Jun-2001
Original Query: Read original query


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