Language Acquisition - 1st semester


a) To be able to identify and describe the main characteristics of different theoretical models of language acquisition;
b) To recognize the advantages and disadvantages of different methodologies for the collection and analysis of child productions and their adequacy to different research questions;
c) To recognize unversal properties and language-specific properties of the language acquisition process;
d) To be able to describe properties of phonologic development;
e) To be able to describe properties of morphologic development;
f) To be able to describe properties of syntactic development;
g) To be able to describe properties of semantic and pragmatic development;
h) To be able to analyze chils productions, taking into account different stages of phonologic and morphosyntactic development.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria Sousa Lobo Gonçalves


Weekly - 4

Total - Available soon

Teaching language



We recommend previous frequency of the following courses: phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics.


Costa, J. e A. L. Santos. 2003. A falar como os bebés. Lisboa: Editorial Caminho.
Fletcher, Paul & Brian MacWhinney, eds. 1995. The Handbook of Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Blackwell Publishers.
Guasti, M.-T.. 2017. Language Acquisition. The Growth of Grammar. Cambridge, London: MIT Press, 2ª edição.
Lust, B. 2006. Child Language. Acquisition and Growth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lust, B. & C. Foley eds. 2004. First Language Acquisition. The essential readings. Malden/Oxford/Victoria: Blackwell.
Freitas, M. J. & A. L. Santos, orgs. 2017. A aquisição de língua materna e não materna. Questões gerais e dados do Português. Textbooks in Language Sciences. Berlim: Language Science Press.

Teaching method

Teaching methods:
The classes include theoretical classes, as well as practical sessions of child data analysis.
Support materials are made available in the moodle platform.

Evaluation method

Assessment methods:
Two written tests (30% each) and two homeworks that consist in the analysis of phonologic and morphosyntactic aspects of children´s productions (20% each).

Subject matter

1. General characteristics of the process of language acquisition and global stages of language development
2. Theoretical perspectives on language acquisition: behaviourism, cognitivism, usage-based models, innatism
3. Language acquisition in the Principles and Parameters framework
4. Methodologies for the study of language acquisition: naturalistic methods and experimental methods
5. Aspects of phonological development
6. Aspects of morphological development
7. Aspects of syntactic development
8. Aspects of semantic and pragmatic development


Programs where the course is taught: