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    Comparison of processes, research, and theories of child first-language and adult second-language development to determine their similarities and differences.

    Many people believe that children learn languages better than adults, yet adults appear to have better cognitive abilities, emotional control, and motivational regulation than children, all of which are associated with better learning. What do we mean by "better" What do we mean by "learn"? What evidence supports the idea that either children or adults learn better? This paper explores these issues by addressing three topics in both first and second language development: the initial conditions that exist in language development; the roles of input and interaction in development; and the nature of language systems and learner processes in development.

    About this paper

    Paper title Child and Adult Language Development
    Subject Linguistics
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $981.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    18 200-level LING points
    LING 318, LING 319
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music

    Suitable for students taking the Linguistics major, TESOL minor or the Graduate Diploma in Second Language Teaching.


    Teaching staff

    Dr Hunter Hatfield

    Plus additional linguistics staff

    Paper Structure

    100% internal assessment.


    Students only need to buy one of the following textbooks. If they are interested in child language development, they should buy Saxton. If they are interested in second language development, they should buy Ellis. Earlier editions are not suitable.

    Saxton, M. 2017. Child language: Acqusition and development (2nd ed.). Sage.
    Ellis, R. 2015. Understanding second language acqusition. (2nd ed.) Oxford.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised

    Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.

    Learning Outcomes
    • To promote lifelong learning by being able to:
      • Transform wonder into answerable questions
      • Search for information to answer questions
      • Identify and evaluate suitability of information to answer questions
    • To promote scholarship by being able to:
      • Learn discipline-specific knowledge
      • Teach discipline-specific knowledge
    • To promote communication by being able to:
      • Prepare and summarise written reports
      • Prepare and deliver oral presentations
    • To promote critical thinking by being able to:
      • Identify and examine underlying assumptions
      • Examine and evaluate research evidence
      • Consider and evaluate different theories
    • To promote self-motivation by being able to:
      • Set goals
      • Chunk large tasks into small tasks
      • Manage time
    • To promote teamwork by being able to:
      • Develop a common aim and plan for a project
      • Negotiate tasks, deadlines, and roles in groups


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Wednesday 15:00-16:50 9-13, 15-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    A1 Thursday 16:00-16:50 10, 12-13, 16, 18-21
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