The way children learn their native language has been the subject of intense and widespread investigation in the last decades, stimulated by advances in theoretical linguistics and the behavioural sciences. For the student, this has meant a bewildering number of research reports, often differing in their theoretical viewpoint and the methodological approach they advocate, and apparently conflicting in their conclusions. Child Language provides the student with a cool, clear and concise survey of the most important recent research work, and puts into perspective the contributions made by Chomsky, Piaget and others. The research surveyed, though primarily of English-speaking children, includes studies of children whose first language is not English and bilingual children. Dr Elliot believes that the study of child language necessarily raises questions about the nature of language - is human language something only humans can learn? - and about learning itself - how does our ability to learn language depend on biological factors, such as our age, and how important is our social and linguistic environment? Little justification is found for the view that language has an independent existence for the young child, and their linguistic achievements are studied within the context of their development in general.
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