LSA 107: Crosslinguistic language acquisition

Sabine Stoll | session 1 | TuTh 1:30 – 3:15, 105 Stanley Hall

While we know a lot about the acquisition of a small number of Indo-European languages, there is extreme variation in the languages of the world, and this variation is important for language acquisition research because it shows us the range of variation children have to be able to cope with. This course explores the role of differences in linguistic structure in the process of language acquisition. The course seeks to track developmental patterns in different languages and to compare their path of acquisition. Results from individual languages and comparative language acquisition research (both intra-genealogical and inter-genealogical) on a variety of topics will be presented. Topics include the role of verbs and nouns in early acquisition, the acquisition of tense and aspect, ergativity, and the role of child-directed speech in various cultural settings. A major focus of discussion will be the methodological challenges in comparing developmental data of different languages.

Reading: Selected materials available online.

Areas of linguistics: Language development and psycholinguistics; Syntax, semantics, and morphology

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