Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 Hours. 10 x 2 hours


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Course Work: 2 written assignments c 2,500 words each  100%
Supplementary Assessment All failed or missing elements of assessment to be re-taken or made good. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module, students should:

  • be aware of the principles and the methods of first language acquisition;
  • be able to apply these principles and methods to the analysis of data;
  • be aware of explanations of explanations of how a first lanaguage is acquired, and be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches;
  • be aware of different views on influences of first language acquisition and development, and be able to assess their strengths and weaknesses.

Brief description

This module presents a description and discussion of first language acquisition, examining descriptive facts ("what" happens "when"?), methodology of investigation ("how" do we collect and analyse data?) and explanations of acquisition ("how" and "why" does acquisition take place as it does?).


  • To develop an awareness of the various features of first language acquisition on a descriptive level.
  • To appreciate the methods and principles that are used to analyse language acquisition, and thus develop specific analytic skills to explore its characteristics.
  • To use their descriptive knowledge and analytic skills to assess explanations of how children acquire language, and to assess any influences on first language acquisition.


The lectures of the module are based on the following:

  • An Introduction.
  • Methodological considerations.
  • The development of pronunciation
  • Word meaning: comprehension.
  • Word meaning: production.
  • Early multi-word utterances.
  • Later multi-word utterances.
  • Developmental paths.
  • Theoretical explanations of first language acquisition.
  • Influences on first language acquisition.
Tutorial / seminar work will be based:

  • partly on additional themes which individual students will investigate and present to the rest of the class,
  • and partly on pursuing in further detail selected themes form the lectures

Reading List

General Text
Ingram, David (1989) First Language Acquisition Cambridge: CUP Primo search (1996.) Child language /edited by Michelle Aldridge. Multilingual Matters Primo search (1981.) Explanation in linguistics :the logical problem of language acquisition /edited by Norbert Hornstein and David Lightfoot. Longman Primo search (1994.) Input and interaction in language acquisition /edited by Clare Gallaway and Brian J. Richards. Cambridge University Press Primo search (1993.) Language acquisition :core readings /edited by Paul Bloom. Harvester Wheatsheaf Primo search Atkinson, Martin. (1992.) Children's Syntax :introduction to principles and parameters theory /Martin Atkinson. Blackwell Primo search Clark, Eve V. (1993.) The lexicon in acquisition /Eve V. Clark. Cambridge University Press Primo search Naremore, Rita C. (1990.) Children learning language /Rita C.Naremore, Robert Hopper. Harper & Row Primo search Saleemi, Anjum P. (1992.) Universal grammar and language learnability /Anjum P. Saleemi. Cambridge University Press Primo search Wells, Gordon. (1985.) Language development in the pre-school years /Gordon Wells. Cambridge University Press Primo search
Supplementary Text
Bloom, Lois Language Development from Two to Three General Reading edition n.e. Camb.U.P. Primo search Boysson-Bardies, Benedicte De How Language Comes to Children General Reading Bradford Books,U.S. Primo search Brown, Roger First Language General Reading edition n.e. Penguin Primo search Clark, Eve V. First Language Acquisition General Reading Camb.U.P. Primo search Crystal, David Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language General Reading edition 2r.e. Camb.U.P. Primo search Crystal, David Child Language,Learning and Linguistics General Reading E.Arnold Primo search Crystal, David Listen to Your Child General Reading edition n.e. Penguin Primo search Elliot, Alison J. Child Language General Reading Camb.U.P. Primo search Fletcher, Paul Child Language Acquisition General Reading Arnold Primo search Fletcher, Paul Child's Learning of English General Reading Blackwell Primo search Fletcher, Paul Language acquisition General Reading edition 2nd Cambridge University Press Primo search Foster-Cohen, Susan H. Introduction to child language development General Reading Addison Wesley Longman Primo search Gleason, Jean Berko Development of Language General Reading edition 4r.e. Allyn & B. Primo search Golinkoff, Roberta Michnik and Hirsh-Pasek, Kathy How babies talk: the magic and mystery of language in the first three years of life General Reading Dutton Primo search Goodluck, Helen Language Acquisition General Reading Blackwell Primo search Guasti, Maria Teresa Language Acquisition General Reading MIT P. Primo search Harris, John Early Language Development General Reading Routledge Primo search Hoff-Ginsberg, Erika Language Development General Reading Brooks-Cole Primo search Hopper, Robert Children Learning Language General Reading edition n.e.of 3r.e. Singular Publishing Group,U.S. Primo search Ingram, David First language acquisition General Reading Cambridge University Press Primo search Karmiloff, Kyra Pathways to Language General Reading Harvard U.P. Primo search Lock, Andrew Language Development General Reading Croom Helm Primo search Peccei, Jean Stilwell Child Language General Reading edition 2r.e. Routledge Primo search Pierce, Amy E. Language Acquisition and Syntactic Theory General Reading Kluwer Acad.Publrs. Primo search Pinker, Steven Language Instinct General Reading edition n.e. Penguin Primo search Radford, Andrew Syntactic Theory and the Acquisition of English Syntax General Reading Blackwell Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6