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Course Overview

This course introduces students to the processes by which children acquire their first language, focusing on the major milestones of phonological and syntactic development. Children everywhere accomplish the task of learning their native language by the age of 5. They succeed despite the cognitive limitations of their age and follow the same general patterns of development regardless of what language they are learning. The efficiency with which children acquire language suggests some degree of innate linguistic knowledge, or a ‘anguage instinct.’ This course will overview some of the major research discoveries of how children combine this language instinct with information provided by the environment to acquire their native language. Course topics will include babbling and early phonetic development by infants, acquisition of word order, questions, and word meanings. A final segment of the course will explore the acquisition of sign languages and the ways in which deaf children’s signing development parallels that of spoken language in hearing children.

Program: Linguistics

Credit: 1

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