SOW-DGCN18
First Language Acquisition
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleSOW-DGCN18
Credits (ECTS)6
Category-
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Social Sciences; Cognitive Neuroscience;
Lecturer(s)
PreviousNext 3
Lecturer
dr. M.E. Broersma
Other course modules lecturer
Examiner
prof. dr. J.P.M. Fikkert
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. J.P.M. Fikkert
Other course modules lecturer
Lecturer
prof. dr. J.P.M. Fikkert
Other course modules lecturer
Coordinator
prof. dr. J.P.M. Fikkert
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2021
Period
SEM2  (31/01/2022 to 15/07/2022)
Starting block
SEM2
Course mode
full-time
Remarks-
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Pre-registrationNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
Aims
  • You know different theories of and methods used to study language acquisition and can discuss the pros and cons of the different theories
  • You know the milestones in early language perception and production research
  • You are able to critically discuss scientific papers and reflect on them
  • You know the current debates in the field
  • You can design experiments to test questions regarding (bilingual) first language acquisition and are able to present a research proposal as a scientific poster
  • You are able to translate current findings in language acquisition into a popular scientific blog.

 
Content
Mastering a first language is one of the most striking achievements of human development. This course starts with an introduction to theories of language acquisition, the empirical findings and milestones in early language perception and production, the current debates in the field, and research methods in the study of language acquisition. After a general introduction into the field, and into the methods used in the field, we will focus on several topics that currently are central to the field.

The acquisition of sound structure: During the first year of life infants become increasingly sensitive to language-specific features of the sound system of their native language. We review segmental, phonotactic, and prosodic aspects of phonological acquisition, and examine the research paradigms used to investigate infant and child speech perception. The results from perception studies are compared to those from production studies. Production studies show that there is a continuum between babbling and early words in terms of motor skills, but cognitive factors and the acquisition of a lexicon come into play too as children build their phonological systems.
 
The acquisition of information structure, syntax and the syntax-semantic interface: The second part focuses predominantly on first language acquisition and the development of grammatical processing mechanisms. We will examine research on first language acquisition and children's sentence processing, and ask what the relationship is between the development of grammatical competence and the development of processing mechanisms/strategies; how L1 parsing procedures develop in monolingual and bilingual children; and how children process sentences in comparison to adults.

During the course you learn to critically discuss scientific papers and reflect on them; to design experiments to test questions regarding (bilingual) first language acquisition; and present a research proposal as a scientific poster. Finally, you will learn to translate current findings in language acquisition into a popular scientific blog.

 
Level

Presumed foreknowledge

Test information

Specifics

Assumed previous knowledge
This course is for CNS students only. Non-CNS students can contact Ellen Janssen (e.janssen@donders.ru.nl) or Arno Koning ( a.koning@donders.ru.nl).

Required materials
Course material
Lecture notes. Literature will be provided on Brighspace
Articles
Frank, M. C., Bergelson, E., Bergmann, C., Cristia, A., Floccia, C., Gervain, J., Hamlin, J. K., Hannon, E. E., Kline, M., Levelt, C., Lew-Williams, C., Nazzi, T., Panneton, R., Rabagliati, H., Soderstrom, M., Sullivan, J., Waxman, S., & Yurovsky, D. (2017). A collaborative approach to infant research: Promoting reproducibility, best practices, and theory-building. Infancy, 22(4), 421-435.
Articles
Ambridge, B., & Lieven, E.V.M. (2015). A Constructivist account of child language acquisition. In B. MacWhinney and W. O'Grady (Eds). Handbook of Language Emergence. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell. (pp. 478-510).

Recommended materials
Articles
Friederici, A. D., & Männel, C. (2014). Neural correlates of the development of speech perception and comprehension. In K. N. Ochsner, & S. M. Kosslyn (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Neuroscience(pp. 171-192). New York, USA: Oxford University Press.

Instructional modes
Class discussion
Attendance MandatoryYes

Lab visits
Attendance MandatoryYes

Lecture
Attendance MandatoryYes

Remark
Lectures, class discussion, student assignments, lab visits.

Student assignments
Attendance MandatoryYes

Tests
Assignments
Test weight35
Test typeAssignment
OpportunitiesBlock SEM2, Block SEM2

Remark
NOTE: enrollment for a course automatically registers you for its exam. For participating in the retake, register again.

Blog
Test weight20
Test typeReport
OpportunitiesBlock SEM2, Block SEM2

Research proposal/poster presentation
Test weight45
Test typePresentation
OpportunitiesBlock SEM2, Block SEM2

Remark
NOTE: enrollment for a course automatically registers you for its exam. For participating in the retake, register again.