First Language Acquisition

Subject LING30003 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 x 1 hour lectures per week, and ten tutorials scheduled across the semester. There will be no tutorials in the first and last weeks of semester.
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours.





Recommended Background Knowledge:

Some familiarity with the IPA and basic linguistic concepts. Contact lecturer for recommended reading if no linguistics background.

Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit:


Dr Barbara Kelly


Subject Overview:

This subject is an overview of some principal issues in first language acquisition, including children's language development (from pre-speech onwards), grammatical, semantic and pragmatic development, and the continued development of language through the school years. The variability and individual differences in relation to current theoretical models of language acquisition and cognitive and social development will also be examined. Focus is on the acquisition of English, but cross-cultural material will be included for comparison.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this subject will:

  • Draw on and critically evaluate knowledge of how the linguistic system develops in the child, including the sound system, grammar, meaning, pragmatics, and awareness of language
  • Position themselves within theoretical debates in first language acquisition research
  • Confidently deploy discipline specific research skills using primary and secondary sources and empirical data with a strong sense of research ethics and intellectual integrity.
  • Proficiently employ learning and research technologies as well as field-specific technologies such as the CHILDES database
  • Attain advanced abilities in writing and other modalities
  • Consolidate their understanding of social and cultural diversity and how they impact first language acquisition
  • Lead collaborative activities to address complex tasks in diverse learning settings

  • Data collection, transcription, brief analysis & presentation due week 4-6 [30%]
  • Quiz in week 8 [20%]
  • Major project due during the examination period [40%]
  • Participation & engagement throughout the semester [10%]

This subject has the following hurdle requirements:

  • Regular participation in tutorials is required with a minimum of 75% attendance.
  • All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day and in-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:
  • First Language Acquisition (Eve V Clark) CUP, 2003 (2nd edition)
Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • should be able to think critically.
  • should be able to effectively communicate ideas in writing.
  • should be able to make a brief presentation.


Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: English Language - 200 Point Program
English Language Studies
Language Testing - 200 Point Program
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
TESOL - 200 Point Program
Technology in Language Learning - 200 Point Program

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