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    Language development

    Dick, Frederic and Krishnan, Saloni and Leech, Robert and Curtin, S. (2016) Language development. In: Hickok, G. and Small, S. (eds.) Neurobiology of Language. Elsevier, pp. 373-388. ISBN 9780124077942.

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    Typically developing children will rapidly and comprehensively master at least one of the more than 6,000 languages that exist around the globe. The complexity of these language systems and the speed and apparent facility with which children master them have been the topic of philosophical and scientific speculation for millennia. In 397 ad, in reflecting on his own acquisition of language, St. Augustine wrote “… as I heard words repeatedly used in their proper places in various sentences, I gradually learnt to understand what objects they signified; and after I had trained my mouth to form these signs, I used them to express my own desires” (quoted in Wittgenstein, 1953/2001). St. Augustine’s intuitions notwithstanding, more recent thinking and research on children’s language acquisition suggest that the problem facing a child is much more intricate than simply remembering the association between a sound and an object and learning to reproduce the word’s sound. The rich and multitiered nature of this problem—and the many and varied paths to its solution (Bates, Bretherton, & Snyder, 1988)—make the process of language acquisition a unique window into multiple low-level and high-level developmental processes.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Typically developing, individual variability, developmental trajectories, early development, language abilities
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2018 16:42
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:39


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