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A Level English Language Starters: Child Language Acquisition

Beth Kemp | Tuesday March 12, 2013

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  • A Level English Language Starters: Frameworks & Analysis
  • A Level English Language Starters: Accent & Dialect
  • A Level English Language Starters: Language & Gender
  • A Level English Language Starters: Language Change
  • A Level English Language Starters: Mode & Technology
  • A Level English Language Starters: Language & Power

Some activities focused on specific frameworks, perhaps especially phonology and grammar, would also be appropriate starters for Child Language lessons, and in the ‘general starters’ section, some of the word game starters could be used to revise or refresh key terms for the topic.

Broad discussion questions can make great starters: simply display one on the board, or hand out a few on cards and let them think and explore. Possibilities for CLA lessons include:

  • What do you need to learn in order to use language?
  • Some say that language is what separates us from animals; how far do you agree?
  • In children’s speech, what counts as a word?
  • Is learning to write the same as learning to speak? Why?
  • What is language for?
  • What is reading for?

How regular are the rules? is a great task to open a lesson featuring morphological development. Students are prompted to provide some simple rules (e.g. how do we form plurals? how do we make a verb past tense?) and at least one example of an irregular word (e.g. the plural of ‘man’ is ‘men’ or ‘go’ becoming ‘went’ in the past tense). They are then asked to come up with as many exceptions to the rules as possible, to help develop a range of examples for overgeneralisations. This can also be extended to ask students to try to explain the full range of rules in terms of pronunciation (e.g. past tense suffixes may be pronounced ‘id’ or ‘t’ or ‘d’ - earlier sounds govern this). This extended version is particularly helpful when looking at children’s writing as well as speech, as it helps to explain errors such as ‘I walkt’.

How hard for a toddler? asks students simply to...


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