Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


The course examines the relationship between language and thinking, as well as the relationship between language acquisition and cognitive development. The course also considers language processing and hemispheric specialisation; competing theories of language and language acquisition (e.g. constructivist, nativist, relativist and connectionist); and universals of language development.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2017.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. demonstrate an advanced understanding of competing theories of language and language acquisition;

2. demonstrate an advanced understanding of the neurological bases of language processing;

3. demonstrate an advanced understanding of the nature of language acquisition universals;

4. demonstrate advanced presentational skills relevant to specialist studies in linguistics;

5. demonstrate advanced research and general information literacy skills.


  1. Main theories of first language acquisition: behaviorist approaches to language acquisition; Piaget's constructivism; Vygotsky's socio-semantic model; Chomsky's Universal Grammar; Whorfian relativism; connectionism.
  2. The neurological base of language: brain lateralisation; left hemisphere dominance; maturational constraints on language acquisition; language pathology.
  3. Evidence about the innateness of language: animal communication; developmental aspects of language; linguistic research into the acquisition of language universals.
  4. The lexicon and the brain: aspects of the acquisition of the lexicon; lexical storage and retrieval.

Assessment items

Literature Review: Literature Review

Essay: Essay

Exhibition / Poster: Poster Presentation