1st Edition

Understanding Child Language Acquisition

By Caroline Rowland Copyright 2014
    328 Pages
    by Routledge

    328 Pages
    by Routledge

    Taking an accessible and cross-linguistic approach, Understanding Child Language Acquisition introduces readers to the most important research on child language acquisition over the last fifty years, as well as to some of the most influential theories in the field. Rather than just describing what children can do at different ages Rowland explains why these research findings are important and what they tell us about how children acquire language.

    Key features include:

    • Cross-linguistic analysis of how language acquisition differs between languages
    • A chapter on how multilingual children acquire several languages at once
    • Exercises to test comprehension
    • Chapters organised around key questions that summarise the critical issues posed by researchers in the field, with summaries at the end
    • Further reading suggestions to broaden understanding of the subject

    With its particular focus on outlining key similarities and differences across languages and what this cross-linguistic variation means for our ideas about language acquisition, Understanding Child Language Acquisition forms a comprehensive introduction to the subject for students of linguistics, psychology and speech and language therapy.

    Students and instructors will benefit from the comprehensive companion website that includes a students’ section featuring interactive comprehension exercises, extension activities, chapter recaps and answers to the exercises within the book. Material for instructors includes sample essay questions, answers to the extension activities for students and a Powerpoint including all the figures from the book.


    Chapter 1: Introduction to language acquisition
    Chapter 2: Learning the sounds of the language
    Chapter 3: Learning words
    Chapter 4: Learning morphology
    Chapter 5: Learning syntax
    Chapter 6: Learning to communicate
    Chapter 7: Learning more than one language - multilingualism
    Chapter 8: Explaining individual differences
    Chapter 9: The search for language universals


    Caroline Rowland is Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Liverpool. Her research focuses on how children acquire language, with a particular interest in grammar and in assessing how the child’s environment promotes and shapes language growth. She is a series editor for the Trends in Language Acquisition (TiLAR) book series and an associate editor for the Journal of Child Language. 

    "This book manages to achieve both breadth and depth in introducing the reader to all the major challenges that children face in learning language: sound, meaning, structure and conversational coordination as well as what can go wrong. It is engagingly written in a lucid and accessible style but without sacrificing complexity. This is an indispensable and unique introduction to this most fascinating and fundamental aspect of human development, both for the serious lay reader and for students and their teachers."

    Elena Lieven, University of Manchester, UK

    "Rowland’s book has a unique take on children’s language development. She takes the reader on a scientific journey on what makes language and language learning special. Students will profit from the many examples, summaries, and suggestions for further readings."

    Heike Behrens, Editor, Journal of Child Language

    "Rowland has written an engaging and thoughtful introduction to debates and data across the breadth of language acquisition."

    Virginia Valian, Hunter College, CUNY, USA