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LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT FOR NEUROPSYCHOLOGISTS
Jean Berko Gleason, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita, Department of Psychology
Boston University, Boston, MA, USA
By the time children are 6 years old they know approximately 14,000 spoken words and can produce all of the major grammatical forms of their language. This course provides an introduction to language development for neuropsychologists and requires no background in linguistics. It covers the major milestones in language development, as well as concrete examples of the systems that must be acquired: phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. The course will also discuss the biological and neurological bases of language, as well as the social conditions that make acquisition possible. Although there is agreement on what children acquire, researchers differ in their explanations of how this is done: nativist, behavioral, connectionist, and interactionist theories will be distinguished, along with examples of contemporary research methods. As a result of participating in the course learners will: (1) have a clearer understanding of the major components of language that children must acquire, such as phonology, and their course of development, (2) be familiar with the modern research methods used in this field, and (3) have a deeper understanding of the theories that drive research in language development.