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Linguistics: Psycholinguistics: The acquisition and attrition of English as a first language


Admission requirements

Admission to this course is strictly limited to students who have taken Linguistics 5 (Introduction to English Generative Syntax) or a similar course.


First language acquisition proceeds in a fixed fashion: from babbling to phonological systems; from the one-word stage to the sentence stage. Gradually, first language learners acquire the separate components of their grammar. Lexical knowledge, for instance, proceeds independently from syntactic knowledge. Generative theory posits modules for each subcomponent of language. These modules, then, are acquired separately. But they can also be lost separately. In the second half of the course we will look at dysfunctional language, and see that this, too, can be described in the modular fashion.

Course objectives

Students comprehend and are able to evaluate the generative concept of the Language Acquisition Device and the generative model of grammar.


The timetable will be available by June 1st on

Mode of instruction

One two-hour seminar per week

Assessment method

Oral presentation (30%); written paper (70%).


This course is supported by Blackboard.

Reading list



Students should register through uSis.

Contact information

Departmental Office English Language and Culture, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144; mail:
Coordinator of Studies Master: Ms. K. van der Zeeuw-Filemon, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 103C.


No remarks.