An accessible introduction to language development aimed at a wide audience of students from different disciplines such as psychology, behavioural science, linguistics, cognitive science, and speech pathology. It requires only minimal knowledge of psychology, and is intended for undergraduates from the second year of studies onwards. The wide accessibility to undergraduates is achieved by avoiding technical terminology when possible and explaining all crucial concepts in the text.
Chapter 1 What Enables Infants to Acquire Language?
1.1 What is the evolutionary context of language development?
1.1.1 Extended period of immaturity
1.1.2 Alloparental care
1.1.3 Reciprocal interaction between young infants and caregivers
1.1.4 Complex social environments
1.2 What are the abilities of language-ready newborns?
1.2.1 Attending to others
Methodology Box 1.1: The Still-Face Paradigm
1.2.2 Engaging others
1.2.3 Neurological and cognitive immaturity
Chapter 2 What do Infants Learn Before they Speak their First Word?
2.1 What is there to learn?
2.1.1 Speech sounds
2.1.2 Rhythm and intonation
2.2 What are the linguistic abilities of newborns?
2.2.1 Recognising language
Methodology Box 2.1: Methods for Assessing Infants’ Speech Perception
2.2.2 Discriminating between languages
2.3 How do infants discover the sounds of language?
2.3.1 Phonemic categories
2.3.2 Early vocalisations
2.3.3 Tuning into the native language
2.4 How do infants discover words?
2.4.1 Distributional information
2.4.2 Prosodic and phonological cues
Chapter 3 How does Social and Cognitive Development Support Language Development?
3.1 What do infants learn from interacting with others?
3.1.1 Incorporating the environment into the interaction
3.1.2 Understanding social signals
3.1.3 Understanding intentions
3.1.4 Learning to imitate
3.2 What do infants learn about the world?
3.2.1 Knowledge about objects
3.2.2 Knowledge about actions and events
3.3 What is the role of gestures in language development?
3.3.1 Development of gestures
3.3.2 The relationship between gesture and speech
3.3.3 Gesture as a possible facilitator of language development
Chapter 4 How do Children Learn Words?
4.1 How does social interaction support word learning?
4.1.1 Inferring word meanings from social cues
4.1.2 Inferring word meanings from activities and routines
4.1.3 How caregivers can support word learning
4.2 When do children learn their first words?
4.2.1 Word comprehension
4.2.2 Word production
4.2.3 Word production errors
4.3 How is the child’s vocabulary organised?
4.3.1 Organisation by meaning
4.3.2 Organisation by form
4.3.3 Organisation by morphological relatedness
4.3.4 Organisation by phonological similarity
4.3.5 Learning combinations of words
4.4 How do children learn so many words in such short time?
4.4.1 Mapping words to meanings
Methodology Box 4.1: Estimating Toddlers’ Vocabularies with the Macarthur–Bates Communicative
4.4.2 Eliminating unlikely meanings of novel words
4.4.3 Making assumptions about word meanings
4.4.4 Using syntax to infer meanings of novel words
4.4.5 Using morphology to infer meanings of novel words
Chapter 5 How do Children Learn to Combine and Modify Words?
5.1 Where does grammatical knowledge come from?
5.1.1 Nativist approaches to grammar
5.1.2 Usage-based approaches to grammar
5.2 Can infants learn about grammar before they even start to speak?
5.2.1 Extracting grammar from sound
5.2.2 Extracting grammar from distributional information
5.2.3 Generalising to novel words
5.3 How do children learn to combine and modify words?
5.3.1 Item-based learning of grammatical structures
5.3.2 Discovering schemas
5.3.3 Understanding and producing verbs
Methodology Box 5.1: Elicited Production Studies with Novel Words
5.4 Why do children make grammatical errors and how do they stop?
5.4.1 Errors in production
5.4.2 Errors in comprehension
Chapter 6 What Kind of Language do Children Encounter?
6.1 How do we address children?
6.1.1 Child-directed speech prosody
Methodology Box 6.1: The Child Language Data Exchange System (CHILDES)
6.1.2 Child-directed speech phonology
6.1.3 Grammar and content of child-directed speech
6.1.4 Child-directed gestures
6.2 What are the functions of child-directed speech?
6.2.1 Relevance of child-directed speech
6.2.2 Affective bonding
6.2.3 Regulating the child
6.2.4 Teaching language and other things
6.2.5 The multi-functional nature of child-directed speech
6.3 Do differences in language input affect language development?
6.3.1 Cultural effects
6.3.2 Socio-economic and demographic effects
6.3.3 Effects of parental communication styles
Chapter 7 How do Children Learn to Use Language?
7.1 How do children develop communicative competence?
7.1.1 Perspective taking
7.1.2 Pragmatic principles of conversation
7.1.3 Non-literal use of language
7.1.4 Humour and teasing
7.1.5 Telling stories
Methodology Box 7.1: Eliciting Narratives with the Frog Stories
7.2 Do boys and girls differ in how they learn and use language?
7.2.1 Gender differences in general language development
7.2.2 Gender differences in the development of communicative styles
Chapter 8 How does Language Development Affect Cognition?
8.1 How does using language support cognitive development?
8.1.1 Encoding and retrieving memories
8.1.2 Development of a personal past, present, and future
8.2 Does it matter which language children learn?
8.2.1 Language and colour cognition
8.2.2 Language and spatial cognition
8.2.3 Language and numerical cognition
8.2.4 Mechanisms behind effects of language on cognition
8.3 Does it matter how many languages children learn?
8.3.1 Rate of development in two languages
8.3.2 Cognitive effects of learning two languages
Chapter 9 What is the Role of Literacy in Language Development?
9.1 How do children learn to read and write?
9.1.1 The structure of writing systems
9.1.2 Learning to read and write
9.1.3 Literacy instruction methods
9.2 How does literacy affect language development?
9.2.1 Literacy and phonemic awareness
9.2.2 Literacy and grammatical development
9.2.3 Literacy and vocabulary development
Methodology Box 9.1: Assessing Vocabulary Knowledge in Adults
9.2.4 Amplification of individual differences in literacy
9.3 Why is learning to read difficult for some children?
9.3.1 Developmental dyslexia
9.3.2 Possible causes of developmental dyslexia
Chapter 10 What Causes Language Impairments?
10.1 What are the symptoms of Specific Language Impairment?
10.1.1 Deficits in auditory processing
Methodology Box 10.1: Standardised Assessment Tests of Language Ability
10.1.2 Deficits in phonological processing
10.1.3 Deficits in lexical processing
10.1.4 Deficits in grammatical processing
10.1.5 Wider repercussions
10.2 Which children are at risk for Specific Language Impairment?
10.2.1 Genetic basis of language impairment
10.2.2 Neural markers of language impairment
10.2.3 Diagnosing language impairment
10.2.4 Predicting outcomes for late talkers
10.3 What might explain Specific Language Impairment?
10.3.1 Deficits in grammatical representation
10.3.2 Processing deficits
10.3.3 Impaired statistical learning
Chapter 11 How do Deaf Children Acquire Language?
11.1 Are sign languages acquired differently from spoken languages?
11.1.1 Structure and processing of sign languages
11.1.2 Acquisition of sign languages
11.1.3 Age of exposure to sign language and language acquisition
11.1.4 Age of exposure to sign language and cognitive development
11.2 How does partial restoration of hearing affect language development?
11.2.1 The mechanics of cochlear implants
11.2.2 The importance of sound
Methodology Box 11.1: Assessing Sequence Learning Abilities
11.3 Can deaf children create their own communication systems?
11.3.1 Gestural communication in isolated deaf children
11.3.2 Creation of sign language
Chapter 12 How does Language Development Affect the Brain?
12.1 Which areas of the brain process language?
12.1.1 Processing speech sounds in the brain
12.1.2 Processing grammar in the brain
12.1.3 Processing meaning in the brain
12.1.4 Connecting the different circuits
Methodology Box 12.1: Studying Language Processing in the Brain
12.2 When does neural specialisation for language develop?
12.2.1 Early specialisation of cortical areas for speech processing
12.2.2 Genetic underpinnings of neural specialisation
12.2.3 Adapting the brain to literacy
12.3 Is there a critical period for language development?
12.3.1 Age of recovery from brain injury
12.3.2 Age of exposure to a second language
12.3.3 Neural representation of a second language