You are here

Child Language

Child Language
Acquisition and Development

Second Edition
Additional resources:

November 2017 | 408 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Presented with the latest thinking and research on how children acquire their first language, this new Second Edition helps readers develop the skills to engage with key debates and current research in the field of child language. This practical text assumes the reader has no background knowledge of linguistic theory and all specialist terms are introduced in clear, non-technical language. A theme running through the book is the nature-nurture debate, rekindled in the modern era by Noam Chomsky, with his belief that the child is born with a rich knowledge of language. Child Language is rare in its balanced presentation of evidence from both sides of the nature-nurture divide. The reader is then encouraged to adopt a critical stance throughout and weigh up the evidence for themselves.

Chapter 1: Landmarks in the Landscape of Child Language
Chapter 2: Can Animals Acquire Human Language? Shakespeare's Typewriter
Chapter 3: The Critical Period Hypothesis: Now or Never?
Chapter 4: Input and Interaction: Tutorials for Toddlers
Chapter 5: Language in the First Year: Breaking the Sound Barrier
Chapter 6: The Developing Lexicon: What's in a Name?
Chapter 7: The Acquisition of Morphology: Linguistic Lego
Chapter 8: Linguistic Nativism: To the Grammar Born
Chapter 9: The Usage-Based Approach: Making It up as You Go along
Chapter 10: You Say Nature, I Say Nurture: Better Call the Calling off off

Child Language provides a fascinating and accessible account of language acquisition, drawing on relevant theories and research. The book makes good use of exercises and discussion points to encourage the reader to critically engage, and is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the development of language.

Dr Ally Grandison
University of Surrey

Matthew’s writing is fascinating! It is a must book that every student should have in their library. I always find Matthew’s examples so fantastic helping us to understand difficult and complex processes in child language development.

Dr Georgia Niolaki
Coventry University

An invaluable resource for students and others interested in language development. The second edition comes with a companion website that offers additional online resources to link to teaching and/or studying.

Wolfgang Mann, MA, Ph.D.
Reader in Special and Inclusive Education University of Roehampton, School of Education

This is a great introduction to the topic, well-written and easily accessible. Clearly laid out, with text boxes, quizzes and key terms explained.

Dr Karin White
Business and Humanities, Sligo Institute of Technology
May 22, 2019

This is an excellent book. It is built upon a solid review of current and past research, but brings fresh perspectives to our thinking about children's language development.

Dr David Waugh
School of Education, Durham University
March 1, 2018

Matthew Saxton's 'Child Language' is a fascinating book, giving insight into the ways in which children develop the ability to speak. Starting from pre-birth and tracing the many stages of development up to mature speaking ability, it is a thorough and engaging read. Written in an accessible and sometimes humorous style, difficult or unfamiliar concepts are dealt with in such a way that they can be easily understood.

Dr Louise Campbell
Moray House School of Education, Edinburgh University
November 13, 2017
Key features
  • Boxes and exercises to foster an understanding of key concepts in language and linguistics
  • A list of useful websites at the end of each chapter
  • A glossary of key terms
  • Suggestions for further reading
  • Discussion points for use in class
  • Separate author and subject indexes


For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

Rent or Buy eBook
ISBN: 9781526421883

ISBN: 9781446295625

ISBN: 9781446295618