First Language Acquisition: Method, Description and Explanation

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 7, 1989 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 572 pages
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This major textbook, setting new standards of clarity and comprehensiveness, will be welcomed by all serious students of first language acquisition. Written from a linguistic perspective, it provides detailed accounts of the development of children's receptive and productive abilities in all the core areas of language - phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. With a critical acuity drawn from long experience, and without attempting to offer a survey of all the huge mass of child language literature, David Ingram directs students to the fundamental studies and sets these in broad perspective. Students are thereby introduced to the history of the field and the current state of our knowledge in respect of three main themes: method, description and explanation. Whilst the descriptive facts that are currently available on first language acquisition are central to the book, its emphasis on methodology and explanation gives it a particular distinction. The various ways in which research is conducted is discussed in detail, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches, leading to new perspectives on key theoretical issues. First Language Acquisition provides advanced undergraduate and graduate students alike with a cogent and closely analysed exposition of how children acquire language in real time. Equally importantly, readers will have acquired the fundamental knowledge and skill not only to interpret primary literature but also to approach their own research with sophistication.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Foundations
5
The history of child language studies
7
22 The period of large sample studies 19261957
11
23 The period of longitudinal language sampling 1957 to present
21
Further reading
30
Stages of language acquisition
32
32 Some proposals on stages of acquisition
38
65 The onset of phonemic perception and production
178
66 The linguistic environment
219
Further reading
231
The period of the first word combinations
234
an overview studies
236
73 The grammatical analysis of early word combinations
261
74 Current theoretical approaches
302
75 The methodology of grammatical analyses of children
332

33 Descriptive vs explanatory stage
54
Further reading
57
Explanation and language acquisition
59
42 Child Language vs Language Acquisition
60
43 A theory of acquisition
63
44 Theoretical assumptions about language acquisition
69
45 Sources of variation among children
77
Further reading
80
Milestones
81
The period of prelinguistic development
83
52 Infant speech perception
84
53 Infant speech production
96
54 Early cognitive development
115
55 The linguistic environment
127
Further reading
137
The period of singleword utterances
139
62 Early word comprehension and production
140
63 The explanation of early word meaning
155
64 Pragmatic and grammatical development
160
Further reading
337
The period of simple sentences phonological and semantic acquisition
340
82 The phonological acquisition of single morphemes
341
83 The further development of word meaning
394
Further reading
432
The period of simple sentences the acquisition of grammatical morphemes
435
a descriptive overview
439
93 The acquisition of Aux in English questions
454
94 Other aspects of English grammatical acquisition
465
95 Crosslinguistic morphological acquisition
493
96 The explanation of morphological acquisition
499
97 Linguistic input and grammatical acquisition
506
Further reading
513
Concluding remarks
516
Bibliography
519
Author index
549
General index
560
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About the author (1989)

Ingram, Department of Linguistics, University of British Columbia.

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