First Language Acquisition: Method, Description and Explanation
1 Jan 1989
Cambridge University Press
This major textbook, setting new standards of clarity and comprehensiveness, will be welcomed by all serious students of first language acquisition. Written from a linguistic perspective, it provides detailed accounts of the development of children's receptive and productive abilities in all the core areas of language - phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. With a critical acuity drawn from long experience, and without attempting to offer a survey of all the huge mass of child language literature, David Ingram directs students to the fundamental studies and sets these in broad perspective. Students are thereby introduced to the history of the field and the current state of our knowledge in respect of three main themes: method, description and explanation. Whilst the descriptive facts that are currently available on first language acquisition are central to the book, its emphasis on methodology and explanation gives it a particular distinction. The various ways in which research is conducted is discussed in detail, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches, leading to new perspectives on key theoretical issues. First Language Acquisition provides advanced undergraduate and graduate students alike with a cogent and closely analysed exposition of how children acquire language in real time. Equally importantly, readers will have acquired the fundamental knowledge and skill not only to interpret primary literature but also to approach their own research with sophistication.