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Language acquisition


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Christiansen, Morten H. 
Language Acquisition as Skill Learning

Language acquisition is often viewed as a problem of inference, in which the child—like a “mini-linguist”— tries to piece together the abstract grammar of her native language from incomplete and noisy input. This “language-as-knowledge” viewpoint contrasts with a more recent alternative, in which the challenge of language acquisition is practical, not theoretical: by practicing across myriads of social interactions, the child gradually learns to understand and produce language. In this talk, I explore some key implications of this “language-as-skill” framework, focusing on how constraints arising from the need to process language in the here-and-now shape acquisition.

Ellis, Rod.
A Short History of SLA: Where Have We Come from and Where Are We Going?

 In the early phases SLA researchers were interested in improving language teaching. In the later phases. SLA has become less applied and more purely academic, directed at contributing to our understanding of language and the human mind.  I will illustrate how this change has taken place through an analysis of the journals that publish SLA research and suggest that this is one reason why teachers have become increasingly skeptical of SLA as a useful source of information about pedagogy.

O'Shannessy, Carmel.
Common Processes, Less Common Outcome - How Children’s Language Acquisition Processes Can Lead to The Emergence of a New Language

In this talk I show how Light Warlpiri emerged in a two-stage process, and discuss the roles of adults and young children in its emergence. I provide empirical data to suggest that children’s cognitive processing during language acquisition in complex, fluid multilingual environments, with ultimately unusual outcomes, can be the same as in any other language acquisition situation. The configuration of the sociolinguistic context, and the type of input to the children, allow common processes to lead to a less common outcome.
Kroll, Judith F. 
Regulating the Native Language: A Framework for Learning and Speaking Two Languages
< The native language of second language (L2) learners changes almost immediately when the two languages begin to interact during early stages of learning. Language performance in proficient bilinguals also reveals these interactions, with the native or dominant language (L1) influenced by the L2. The hypothesis we have been examining is that L2 users acquire the skill to regulate the L1 to enable initial learning and proficient language use. The resulting regulatory skills may ultimately benefit language processing and its cognitive and neural consequences.
Lidz, Jeffrey.
Inside the Language Acquisition Device

Language acquisition involves the complex interplay between the the linguistic environment, the learner's current knowledge and the information processing systems through which linguistic input is processed. Here we explore this interplay in the earliest stages of syntactic development.

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