• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Do all children learn language in the same way? Is the apparent “fast” vs. “slow” language learning rate among children a reflection of the individual child's approach to language acquisition? This volume explores the importance that individual differences have in acquiring language and challenges some of the widely held theories of linguistic development. Focusing on children ages one to three, the author describes characteristic differences in terms of vocabulary, grammatical, and phonological development, and considers whether distinctive “styles” of language development can be defined. In addition, the social and cognitive influences that can explain these differences are examined. The book concludes with a look at new language theories such as ecological, chaos, and connectionist approaches and considers what individual differences in development can tell us ...

Are There Styles of Language Development?
Are there styles of language development?

In the previous chapter, I described differences in the way that young children approach different aspects of language: semantics/vocabulary, grammar, phonology, and pragmatics. As I noted at the beginning of that chapter, researchers often suggest that a child's strategy in one aspect of language (e.g., lexical development) is paralleled in, for example, phonological development. When there are such linkages or similarities of approach in different areas, researchers begin to speak of different “styles” of language development. This term, style of development, has important implications. Instead of a stylistic pattern, the differences we observe could be separate, isolated dimensions of difference. They could be developmental differences rather than stylistic ones. In this chapter, I explore ...

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