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Jacqueline Woolley, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

Fall 2004

PSY 333P • Child Language

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42535 MWF
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
MEZ 1.120
MEIER

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the linguistic and psychological issues involved in the study of how children acquire a first language. Among the questions to be considered are: 1) What is the biological basis for language acquisition?
2) Is the capacity to acquire and use language a species-specific ability?
3) How dependent is the child on the linguistic environment?
4) Does parental reinforcement guide the child's acquisition of language?
5) What is the developmental time course for language? What is the relationship between prelinguistic developments, such as babbling, and the emergence of the child's first words? When do children first produce simple sentences? What kinds of errors do children characteristically make?
6) Are visual-gestural languages, such as American Sign Language, acquired in a different fashion than spoken languages?

Grading Policy

5 short reaction papers (each approximately one-and-a-half pages), 2 in-class exams, and a final exam. The 5 discussion notes will together count 25% of your grade, the in-class exams will each count 20%, and the comprehensive final will be 35%.

Texts

Erika Hoff. Language Development. A packet of key papers reporting research on language acquisition.

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