LSA 101: Acquisition of speech production

Mary E. Beckman | session 1 | TuTh 10:30 – 12:15, 370 Dwinelle Hall

Children learn to talk in an extraordinarily short period of time. Over the first few years of life, they quickly progress from the practicing the simple coos, squeals, and rudimentary syllable-like utterances of early vocal play to saying words and longer utterances that contain recognizable forms of most of the vowels and consonants of what will be the native language. We have been investigating this developmental progression for more than a century. Our understanding has gone well beyond the descriptive generalizations that could be made with the tools available to the child language researchers who produced the early 20th century diary studies that informed Jakobson's seminal papers on children's speech and its relationship to universals of phonological systems and frequently attested patterns of sound change. This course will first give a brief overview of how far we have come since Jakobson (1941) in our understanding of phonological development, and then survey a few of the observational tools, analytic methods, and models that we need to be developing now to advance as far in the next six decades.

Reading: Selected materials available online.

Prerequisites: None (although some introductory background in phonetics or phonology could be helpful).

Areas of linguistics: Language development and psycholinguistics; Phonetics, phonology, and morphology

Banner design by Laurie Caird