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Language Development



Language Development

Patricia J. Brooks, Vera Kempe

ISBN: 978-1-444-33146-2 May 2012 400 Pages

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From the first moment of life, language development occurs in the context of social activities. This book emphasises how language development interacts with social and cognitive development, and shows how these abilities work together to turn children into sophisticated language users—a process that continues well beyond the early years.  Covering the breadth of contemporary research on language development, Brooks and Kempe illustrate the methodological variety and multi-disciplinary character of the field, presenting recent findings with reference to major theoretical discussions. Through their clear and accessible style, readers are given an authentic flavour of the complexities of language development research.

With such research advancing at a rapid pace, Language Development uncovers new insights into a variety of areas such as the neurophysiological underpinnings of language, the language processing capabilities of newborns, and the role of genes in regulating this amazing human ability.

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Acknowledgements xv

Chapter 1 What Enables Infants to Acquire Language? 1

Chapter 2 What do Infants Learn Before they Speak their First Word? 19

Chapter 3 How does Social and Cognitive Development Support

Language Development? 43

Chapter 4 How do Children Learn Words? 63

Chapter 5 How do Children Learn to Combine and Modify Words? 89

Chapter 6 What Kind of Language do Children Encounter? 117

Chapter 7 How do Children Learn to Use Language? 141

Chapter 8 How does Language Development Aff ect Cognition? 163

Chapter 9 What is the Role of Literacy in Language Development? 189

Chapter 10 What Causes Language Impairments? 213

Chapter 11 How do Deaf Children Acquire Language? 239

Chapter 12 How does Language Development Aff ect the Brain? 263

Glossary 287

References 303

Name Index 367

Subject Index 379

·         A state-of-the-art overview of recent advances in the field

·         A wide breadth of topics, including how infants discover language through interaction with others and how children learn to read and write

·         Detailed coverage of how language development unfolds in special populations such as bilinguals, deaf children, and children with language impairments.

·         A comprehensive summary of each chapter with a carefully constructed list of further readings that encompass key studies

·         Methodology boxes describing crucial research methods for a given topic

·         Additional resource materials to accompany this text are available at


  • Describes contemporary research using an accessible style which avoids unnecessary technical terminology.
  • Reflects recent advances in the field, encompassing cognitive science, computational modelling, cross-linguistic research, and neuroimaging techniques.
  • Describes language development in the context of human evolution, and situates the child in a social network that provides a richly structured language input.
  • The instructor materials include PowerPoint slides, a test bank with multiple-choice and short essay questions, and ideas for student research projects.
  • Each chapter addresses one problem and tells a coherent story.
  • Methodology boxes introduce specific research methodologies relevant to the questions addressed in the chapters, and describe each methodology in an understandable manner.
  • Key study boxes introduce studies relevant to specific questions in the chapters.