First Language Acquisition and Language Impairment

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    First Language Acquisition and Language Impairment

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    To gather knowledge of linguistic theories and research methodologies involving language acquisition and language disorders. To develop basic skills in coding and analysing child language data and to learn how to cope with the methodological difficulties of child language research. To become familiar with language assessment materials and to be able to critically assess them. To be able to translate analyses of child language data Into advices for parents. To be able to gather information from handbooks on child language acquisition and to critically read research articles on this topic.

    In this course, we study the phases that every child goes through when acquiring his or her first language. It is amazing to see how children all over the world build up their language system in similar ways as they start out, and how they grow apart more and more as they develop more complex language skills in the typologically different languages of the world. We study the theories that try to explain how it is possible that an average four-year-old is quite fluent in his or her own language(s) while it takes adults years and years to learn a (new) language. We also study the language development of children with a developmental language disorder. These are children who experience difficulties in acquiring certain aspects of their own language. Sometimes the cause of these difficulties is obvious, for instance in children with hearing loss, and sometimes we don’t know what causes these difficulties. We will also study the theories that try to explain the causes of these disorders. Furthermore, we will collect, study and analyse child language data, both manually and automatized. You will also be trained in giving advice to parents who worry about the language development of their child and you will develop and study materials for language assessment.

    In total six hours a week of classes: one lecture (two hours), one seminar (two hours) and one linguistic lab (two hours). Attendance at seminars and linguistic labs is obligatory. You must have attended at least 80% of these classes, otherwise you will have to do an extra assignment or extra assignments.

    Written exam with open questions and multiple choice questions. You will only be allowed to take part in the exam if you have handed in all assignments (analysis of child language data, lab assignments and child language data collection).

    You must have participated in the course Introduction to linguistics (code L_AABACIW103) or an equivalent course at another university. 

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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