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Georgetown University


Detailed Course Information


Fall 2017
Jan 17, 2018
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Information Select the desired Level or Schedule Type to find available classes for the course.

LING 555 - Frmal Appr to Lang Acquis
This course provides an introduction to language acquisition from the perspective of how we might account for the kind of complex linguistic knowledge a child (or adult) learner comes to attain, and how that account is both informed by and contributes to linguistic theory. We examine the notion of ‘Universal Grammar’ and how it has evolved over the past several decades, including the historical context in which it was proposed (e.g., as a response to the prevailing behavioristic learning model of the first half of the 20th century). Topics to be covered include:  issues of learnability (including a hypothesized ‘poverty of the stimulus’ and the role of negative evidence in language development); the hypothesized role of ‘parameters’ in language learning (including acquisition studies of specific parameters and more general questions concerning the evolution and validity of parameter theory for language acquisition); the acquisition of morphosyntactic functional categories and features; and the extent to which knowledge of language at earlier stages of language development is of the same type or ‘continuous’ with the kind of knowledge mature native speakers possess.
	We will primarily look at how these issues have been formulated with respect to child native language acquisition, with extensions to child bilingual acquisition and/or adult second language acquisition (SLA) as time and students’ interests permit. (SLA topics might include the extent to which UG constraints could be considered applicable to SLA, questions regarding the setting or ‘re-setting’ of parameters in SLA, and what constitutes the ‘initial state’ and ‘endstate’ of L2 development.)
	There will be some emphasis on close reading and critical analysis of primary-source literature (i.e., actual acquisition studies) so that you will have an opportunity to become more familiar with some of the design and experimental methods employed in language acquisition research. Please note this course is only offered every other year.

3.000 Credit hours
3.000 Lecture hours
0.000 Lab hours

Levels: MN or MC Graduate
Schedule Types: Lecture, Seminar

Linguistics Department

Must be enrolled in one of the following Levels:     
      MN or MC Graduate

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