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PS30159: Language development

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Psychology
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 1
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: ES 80%, OR 20%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • ESSAY (ES 80%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites: Before taking this module you must take PS20107 AND ( take PS20108 OR take PS20167 )
Description: Aims:
The intention of this unit is to:
* To introduce the students to the challenges faced by the child during the course of language development
* To introduce the students the theoretical accounts of child language acquisition and to the experimental and naturalistic study of language development.
* To introduce the students to disorders of child language acquisition and the consequences of language impairments.

Learning Outcomes:
In completing this unit students would be expected to:
* Compare and contrast the theoretical accounts of language acquisition
* Critically examine the methodology used to investigate child language acquisition
* Discuss the types, treatment and associated characteristics of children with developmental language disorders.


* Comprehensive and scholarly written communication (e.g. essays)
* Concise, time-bound and effective written communication (e.g. briefings / exams)
* Ability to select, summarise and synthesis written information from multiple sources
* Ability to develop rigorous arguments through precise use of concepts and models
* Ability to apply theory into practice
* Ability to select and use appropriate ideas to produce a coherent response to a pre-set question
* Ability to produce work to agreed specifications and deadlines
* Ability to work independently, without close supervision of guidance.


* Describe and evaluate the differing theoretical accounts of language development and their historical contexts
* In the unit we will discuss the time course of infant communication and language development as well as the specific skills (and underlining cognitive processes) involved in language acquisition (speech segmentation, word learning, grammar development)
* Describe and evaluate language acquisition and developmental trajectories of children with developmental language disorders.
* Examining the interplay between biological, socio-cultural, and cognitive factors in child language acquisition.
* Critically evaluate the different techniques of studying child language acquisition; including child experimentations, artificial language learning studies, analysis of child and child directed speech, and computational modelling.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PS30159 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Psychology


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2020/21 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2021/22 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2020/21.
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