Language Development in Exceptional Circumstances - LL844

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 3)
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7 15 (7.5) DR V Janke







During this course, students focus on a set of case studies (e.g. Language abilities in Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Specific Language Impairment and Down Syndrome; The Aphasias; Sign Language), which provide novel insights into ongoing questions within language acquisition research. Issues considered include: the extent to which linguistic capacities interact with psychological ones; the distinction between developmental and acquired disorders; the evidence for and against linguistic principles being operative in child grammars; the distinction between language delay and language deviance, and the reliability and validity of social, cognitive and linguistic tests against which individuals' capabilities are measured.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20

Method of assessment

Presentation (10 minutes) - 20%;
Critical review (2500 words) - 80%

Indicative reading

Foster-Cohen, S. (2009) Language Acquisition, Palgrave Advances in Linguistics. London: Palgrave Macmillan;
Guasti, M. (2004). Language Acquisition: The Growth of Grammar. Bradford: Bradford Books;
Hoff, E & M Shatz (2009). Blackwell Handbook of Language Development. London: Wiley-Blackwell;
Karmiloff-Smith, A (1992) Beyond Modularity: A Developmental Perspective on Cognitive Science. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press;
Marshark, M, Siple, P, Lillo-Martin, D, Campbell, R & Everhart, V. (1997) Relations of Languages and Thought: The View from Sign Languages and Deaf Children. Oxford: OUP;
Smith, Neil & Ianthi Tsimpli (1995) The Mind of a Savant: Language Learning and Modularity. London: Blackwell;
Ritchie, W. & T.K. Bhatia (eds) (1999) Handbook of Child Language Acquisition. London: Academic Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to consider how different linguistic components affect each other;
Students will be able to understand the difference between atypical language development and atypical language acquired once development is complete;
Students will be able to assess the extent to which theoretical and empirical work on atypical linguistic development inform each other;
Students will be able to analyse transcripts from a variety of corpora in order to identify typical characteristics of specific disorders;
Students will be able to understand the results of social, cognitive and linguistic tests againat which subjects' capabilities are measured (e.g. standardised vocabulary, verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests; experimental tests designed to tap into particular aspects of linguistic knowledge).

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