20 Credits SPRING

Pre-requisites: Undergraduate students should have an A at A-level in English or another Modern Language.


Aims/Description: This second-year module is aimed at students who have already taken Introduction to Linguistics at Level 1. In this course, we focus specifically on the first language acquisition of syntactic (and semantic) knowledge. Addressing both theoretical and methodological issues, the course explores the relationship between the logical problem of language acquisition -- how very young children manage to acquire quite abstract and subtle properties of their target grammars in the absence of clear positive evidence -- and the developmental problem of acquisition -- how children recover from systematic errors, and acquire subtle language-specific properties. We also explore the related tension between nativist vs. emergentist explanations for language acquisition and development.

Teaching Methods: Lectures, Independent Study,
Assessment: Course work, Classroom testing

Information on the department responsible for this unit (English Language and Linguistics):

Departmental Home Page
Teaching timetable


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

URLs used in these pages are subject to year-on-year change. For this reason we recommend that you do not bookmark these pages or set them as favourites.

Teaching methods and assessment displayed on this page are indicative for 2021-22. Students will be informed by the academic department of any changes made necessary by the ongoing pandemic.

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK