Development and Disorder of Language in Children

School of Psychology

College of Life and Environmental Sciences


Code 23199

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 20

Semester 2

Module description

This module will focus on contemporary theories and research on language development, including atypical language development. As language development needs to be measured against the fully functional language of adults, it will cover the relationships between theories of child language and theories of adult language processing. We will discuss more traditional methodologies as well as modern technologies and how both have led to theoretical advances. The module will focus on both cognitive and social aspects of language development. It will not concern the diagnosis or treatment of language disorders.

Lecture 1 will cover the linguistic background necessary for understanding the development of language as well as a brief overview of the milestones of language development. The following lectures will discuss early communicative competence, the acquisition of the sound system of a language, early word recognition and the acquisition of word meanings, morphology and syntactic development, and finally language in children with atypical language development such as autism, specific language disorder (SLI), Williams Syndrome, and deaf children

On completion of this module the student will be able to:
1. Summarize the main features of the linguistic performance of infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers and older children.
2. Describe, compare, and evaluate current theories of phonological, semantic, syntactic, and morphological development
3. Provide an overview of the development of theories of child language in the 20th century.
4. Describe and evaluate major research techniques in child language research.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and workshops