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This volume brings together the work of 32 scholars from 13 countries -- investigations of children learning 15 different languages, in some instances more than one at a time. The scope of this work -- as broad as it is -- only partially represents the research interests and approaches of the more than 350 scholars from 34 countries who contributed papers or posters to the Sixth International Congress for the Study of Child Language. This investigative power and diversity are, for the most part, focused on topics and issues of modern day child language research that have been under discussion for the last 30 years or so. Some even go beyond that in early diary studies and philosophers' speculations.
While the issues are mainly familiar ones, the 17 chapters contribute to the advancement of child language study in several specific ways. They:
* represent current theoretical frameworks, both bringing the insights of the theories to the interpretation of language development and testing tenets or implications of the theories with child language data;
* contribute substantively to the crosslinguistic study of child language, reflecting both the linguistic diversity of the authors themselves and a recent major shift in the approach to child language study;
* build on the now considerable body of knowledge about children's language, both adding to information about the basic systems of phonology, syntax, and semantics, and extending beyond to explore aspects of narrative and literacy development, language acquisition by bilingual and atypical children, and language processing; and
* contain hints of new directions in child language study, such as increased attention to the impact of phonology on other language systems.
Taken as a whole, this volume reflects the current strength of crosslinguistic research, the application and testing of new theoretical developments, a new legitimacy of language disorder data, and a new appeal to the descriptive possibilities of language processing models. In addition, there is a theme that runs through many of the chapters and points the way for important research in the future: the role of prosody in the acquisition of various language structures and systems.
- Taylor and Francis, January 2013
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