978-0-262-02453-2 / 9780262024532

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About the book:

Some say that children should be seen and not heard, but it turns out that might not be for the best. Bénédicte de Boysson-Bardies, director of research in the Experimental Psychology Laboratory at the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, goes beyond folk wisdom to tell the real story in How Language Comes to Children. Her 20 years of experience conducting research on young children's language acquisition shine through on each page, as her writing (and Malcolm DeBevoise's expert translation) perfectly captures the essence of the data and why it should be important to caretakers.

Did you know that a fetus in the womb can differentiate sounds and voices with delicate sensitivity? That cultural differences strongly influence how--and whether--mothers hear their children's first words? Modern linguistic theory tells us that we are all born with the pre-programmed capacity to learn language, but that our early experiences fill in the details of vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. How we get from wailing at 2 a.m. to gossiping over coffee at 10 a.m. is all the more intriguing for the wildly different (but parallel) paths we all take to get there. How Language Comes to Children is a fantastically engaging field guide to everyone's first journey. --Rob Lightner

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