The central assertion in this volume is that the young child uses general skills, scaffolded by adults, to acquire the complex knowledge of sound patterns and the goal-directed behaviors for communicating ideas through language and producing speech. A child s acquisition of phonology is seen as a product of her physical and social interaction capacities supported by input from adult models about ambient language sound patterns. Acquisition of phonological knowledge and behavior is a product of this function-oriented complex system. No pre-existing mental knowledge base is necessary for acquiring phonology in this view. Importantly, the child s diverse abilities are used for many other functions as well as phonological acquisition. Throughout, an evaluation is made of the research on patterns of typical development across languages in monolingual and bilingual children and children with speech impairments affecting various aspects of their developing complex system. Also considered is the status of available theoretical perspectives on phonological acquisition relative to an emergence proposal, and contributions that this perspective could make to more comprehensive modeling of the nature of phonological acquisition are proposed. The volume will be of interest to cognitive psychologists, linguistics, and speech pathologists.
Barbara L. Davis is the Houston Harte Centennial professor at the University of Texas at Austin. She has pursued a research program centered on understanding speech acquisition through cross-linguistic analysis of child speech patterns in the context of comparison with mature language patterns. Her studies include typically developing children within diverse language environments, as well as infants with hearing impairment and children with severe speech disorders. She has published widely in national and international venues. Lisa M. Bedore is a professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Texas at Austin. She is interested in the ways that language learners integrate information about language form and meaning across domains in learning. To this end she has studied monolingual and bilingual children with typically developing language and communication impairments. Her work includes studies of phonology, word learning, and grammar.