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Paperback | $50.00 X | £41.95 | 672 pp. | 7 x 9 in | February 2017 | ISBN: 9780262529389
eBook | $50.00 X | £37.95 | February 2017 | ISBN: 9780262342261

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Language Acquisition, Second Edition

The Growth of Grammar


How do children begin to use language? How does knowledge of language emerge in early infancy, and how does it grow? This textbook offers a comprehensive introduction to knowledge acquisition, drawing on empirical evidence and linguistic theory. The theoretical framework used is the generative theory of Universal Grammar; students should have some familiarity with concepts in linguistic research. Aimed at upper-level undergraduate and graduate students, the book offers end-of-chapter summaries, key words, study questions, and exercises.

This second edition has been thoroughly updated, with new content throughout. It has been reorganized according to the three main components of language acquisition. The computational components and the interfaces are covered in chapters on structure building in the verbal and nominal domains, movement-derived structure, and the relation between syntax and semantics and semantic and pragmatic. The sensory motor interface is treated in chapters on infants’ perception of language and on the acquisition of words. The intentional-conceptual interface is discussed in chapters on the acquisition of words. This edition features additional cross-linguistic content, a new focus on brain imaging findings and the motor aspect of language, new material on Williams and Down Syndromes and dyslexia, and a new chapter on bilingualism, early second language acquisition, and bimodalism. Revisions reflect the burgeoning research in the field. New pedagogical features include chapter outlines, summaries of chapters, hypotheses, and linguistic milestones; methodological information; explanatory boxes; and suggestions for further reading.

About the Author

Maria Teresa Guasti is Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Milan-Bicocca.


“Anyone interested in the scientific study of language acquisition will treasure Guasti’s new edition of the widely known textbook. Not only does the book cover an impressive range of phenomena, it also situates their development within the most recent generative model of language architecture and its links with other aspects of human cognition.”
Ianthi Maria Tsimpli, Professor of English and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge
“This is the one textbook on language acquisition that every student should read, and the one that every active researcher will consult. An up-to-date summary of experimental research, this textbook documents the significant progress that has been made in the field of child language over the past forty years.”
Stephen Crain, Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Macquarie University
“This revised edition is a state-of-the-art nativist introduction to language acquisition that draws from research on more than twenty typologically diverse languages. With its bibliography doubled in length, the book gives a comprehensive overview of the empirical evidence in support of Universal Grammar, based on behavioral and brain imaging findings in typical and atypical language development. It is a timely contribution that will initiate the student into the generative approach to language acquisition, highlighting our current understanding of the linguistic abilities of infants, toddlers, and young children. The book should be a key reference for anyone interested in the cross-linguistic study of language acquisition.”
Thomas Hun-tak Lee, Chairperson and Professor, Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, The Chinese University of Hong Kong