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LING-551 Language Acquisition
Fall for 2006-2007
Faculty:
  • Lardiere, Donna
  • Note: This course has recently been renumbered from LING-351 to LING-551.

    Course description and objectives: This is an introductory graduate-credit course focusing on some of the central aspects of both first and second language acquisition. (Since I am equally interested in both, they will both be covered, but L2 acquisition is covered primarily in comparison with L1 acquisition.) Among the topics to be discussed are some of the ideas about language learning and the nature of language representation, proposed by psychologists and linguists such as Skinner, Piaget and Chomsky, and how these ideas continue to influence current approaches to language acquisition; at what point children are thought to know certain things about the language they’re acquiring (and how we think we know this); how children learn to segment the speech stream (and why this may be much harder for adult language learners); the use of special kinds of input modification (such as ‘motherese’) and whether/how this is helpful or necessary for language development; how children’s grammatical, lexical-semantic, and phonological systems develop, and how the highly developed native-language systems of adults influence their acquisition of a second language; the extent to which L1 and L2 acquisition are similar or ‘fundamentally different’; the critical period hypothesis and the case of Genie, with implications for adult L2 acquisition and L1 acquisition by Deaf children; and possibly other topics (as time and interest allow) such as L1 attrition, specific language impairment, and/or the role of motivation in language learning.

    Among the course objectives are the development of your critical thinking skills in the guided evaluation of some readings from the primary literature, and gaining some familiarity with the sort of experimental studies carried out in the field of language acquisition.

    Please note: although there may be some brief discussion of how certain ideas about language learning have been applied to language instruction (e.g., the audiolingual method as an application of behaviorist learning theory), this is not a course about classroom language learning or pedagogy.


    Prerequisite: LING-001 (Intro. to Language) or LING-401 (General Linguistics) or the equivalent. This is a firm prerequisite if you have not yet taken any other courses in formal linguistics.


    Course requirements:

    (1) Weekly preparation of readings and participation in class discussions of these readings;
    (2) Occasional short essays (approx. 4 or 5 of these over the course of the semester) answering one or more questions related to the reading;
    (3) One critical review essay of a primary literature article;
    (4) A final literature review paper organized around a research question of your choice.


    Required texts:

    •Berko-Gleason, J. (1997) The Development of Language (4th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.
    •Course reading packet.
    Credits: 3
    Prerequisites: LING-001 (Intro. to Language) or LING-401 (General Linguistics) or the equivalent.

    Sections:

    LING-551-01 Language Acquisition
    Fall for 2006-2007
    Faculty:
  • Lardiere, Donna
  • Note: This course has recently been renumbered from LING-351 to LING-551.

    Course description and objectives: This is an introductory graduate-credit course focusing on some of the central aspects of both first and second language acquisition. (Since I am equally interested in both, they will both be covered, but L2 acquisition is covered primarily in comparison with L1 acquisition.) Among the topics to be discussed are some of the ideas about language learning and the nature of language representation, proposed by psychologists and linguists such as Skinner, Piaget and Chomsky, and how these ideas continue to influence current approaches to language acquisition; at what point children are thought to know certain things about the language they’re acquiring (and how we think we know this); how children learn to segment the speech stream (and why this may be much harder for adult language learners); the use of special kinds of input modification (such as ‘motherese’) and whether/how this is helpful or necessary for language development; how children’s grammatical, lexical-semantic, and phonological systems develop, and how the highly developed native-language systems of adults influence their acquisition of a second language; the extent to which L1 and L2 acquisition are similar or ‘fundamentally different’; the critical period hypothesis and the case of Genie, with implications for adult L2 acquisition and L1 acquisition by Deaf children; and possibly other topics (as time and interest allow) such as L1 attrition, specific language impairment, and/or the role of motivation in language learning.

    Among the course objectives are the development of your critical thinking skills in the guided evaluation of some readings from the primary literature, and gaining some familiarity with the sort of experimental studies carried out in the field of language acquisition.

    Please note: although there may be some brief discussion of how certain ideas about language learning have been applied to language instruction (e.g., the audiolingual method as an application of behaviorist learning theory), this is not a course about classroom language learning or pedagogy.


    Prerequisite: LING-001 (Intro. to Language) or LING-401 (General Linguistics) or the equivalent. This is a firm prerequisite if you have not yet taken any other courses in formal linguistics.


    Course requirements:

    (1) Weekly preparation of readings and participation in class discussions of these readings;
    (2) Occasional short essays (approx. 4 or 5 of these over the course of the semester) answering one or more questions related to the reading;
    (3) One critical review essay of a primary literature article;
    (4) A final literature review paper organized around a research question of your choice.


    Required texts:

    •Berko-Gleason, J. (1997) The Development of Language (4th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.
    •Course reading packet.
    Credits: 3
    Prerequisites: LING-001 (Intro. to Language) or LING-401 (General Linguistics) or the equivalent.
    More information
    Look for this course in the schedule of classes.

    The academic department web site for this program may provide other details about this course.

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