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Language acquisition


Admission requirements

Successful completion of an introductory course in linguistics, with basic knowledge of phonological, morphological and syntactic terminology


This course provides an introduction to the acquisition of a first language, with a focus on language development in the first three years of life. In addition to a textbook, aspects of phonological-, morphological -and syntactic development, the role of language input and different research methods are discussed on the basis of a series of journal articles. Attention will be paid to the relation between linguistic theory and child language data.

Course objectives

  • Acquire knowledge and insight in the process of first language acquisition

  • Acquire knowledge and insight in the research methods that are used in the field.

  • Acquire knowledge and insight in the nature of child language data.

  • Learn to interpret data from a theoretical perspective.

  • Learn how to formulate hypotheses about language development.

  • Acquire a basic insight into the ways such hypotheses could be tested.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method


Take-home examination with essay questions
Final exam with short open questions


Midterm exam: 30%
Final exam: 70%
In order to pass, the grade for the final exam has to be 5.5 or higher.


A resit of the final exam is possible.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized

Reading list

The booktitles and / or syllabi to be used in the course, where it can be purchased and how this literature should be studied beforehand.
The full list of journal articles will be made available at the start of the course. Readings include:

  • Vouloumanos, A., & Werker, J. F. (2007). Listening to language at birth: Evidence for a bias for speech in neonates. *Developmental Science, 10, 159-171.

  • Maye, J., Werker, J. F., & Gerken, L. (2002). Infant sensitivity to distributional information can affect phonetic discrimination. Cognition, 82(3), B101-B111.

  • Saffran, J., Aslin, R., Newport, E. (1996). Satistical learning by 8-month-old infants. Science, 274.

  • Marcus, Vijayan, Bhandi-Rao & Vishton (1999). Rule learning in 7-months-old infants. Science 283.
    Stager, C. L., & Werker, J. F. (1997). Infants listen for more phonetic detail in speech perception than in word-learning tasks. Nature, 388, 381-382.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

not applicable


For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats
E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies


not applicable