About The Book

Introduction to Language Development, Third Edition offers a highly accessible overview to the complexities of language development. The textbook is designed for use in language acquisition courses in undergraduate and graduate speech-language pathology programs to facilitate both teaching and learning. Complex terminology and theories are explained through definitions and examples to ensure that students are able to easily grasp the content. Within the third edition of this text, students are presented with language factors—syntax, semantics, phonology, morphology, and pragmatics—as well as the cognitive abilities that underlie language development. Multilingual and multicultural differences are explored throughout.

Key Features

  • Case studies allow instructors to involve students more fully in classroom discussion, along with developing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Chapter learning objectives allow students to understand the scope and goals of the chapter
  • Study questions allow instructors to engage students in discussions of the material and ensure students grasp and retain the information
  • Tables and figures provide examples and evidence that elaborate and clarify the information presented
  • A comprehensive glossary helps students locate the definitions of key terms

New to the Third Edition

  • Expanded focus on diversity and the role that culture plays in language learning
  • Updated to reflect the increased impact of technology in literacy and learning
  • Improved readability through the introduction of terminology, concepts, and practical strategies that will be encountered in chapters that follow
  • The inclusion of new terminology that reflects patient-centric language and updated terms that respect diversity of individuals served by speech-language pathologists and audiologists

PluralPlus Online Ancillary Materials

For Instructors: PowerPoint Lecture Slides

For Students: eFlashcards and Multiple Choice Study Questions

About The Author

Sandra Levey, PhD, is Professor Emerita at the City University of New York (CUNY), Lehman College. She received her PhD in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the Graduate Center of CUNY and  a degree in linguistics at Stanford University, with a minor in African studies. Dr. Levey has been designated by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Board of Child Language and Language Disorders as a Board-Certified Specialist in Child Language. She has received research grants for study at Bayero University in Kano, Nigeria and as a research consultant in Bratislava, Slovakia. Dr. Levey was the conference coordinator of the Seventeenth Annual Stanford Child Language Research Forum that focused on multilingual research. Her research and publications have focused on multilingualism and multiculturalism. She is a member of the International Association of Communication Sciences and Disorders (IALP).

Table Of Contents



Chapter 1. An Introduction to Language Acquisition
Sandra Levey

Chapter Objectives 
Developmental Stages of Typical Language Development 
Communication, Speech, and Language 
Written Language and Reading Abilities 
Language Differences 
Key Words 
Study Questions 

Chapter 2. An Introduction to Theories of Language Development
Sandra Levey

Chapter Objectives
Speech Act Theory 
Functional Approach to Language and Cognition 
Behavioral Theory 
Principles and Parameters Theory 
Social Interaction Theory 
Cognitive Theory 
Key Words 
Study Questions

Chapter 3. The Brain and Cognitive, Speech, and Language Development
Sandra Levey and Denise Cruz

Chapter Objectives 
The Brain and Language 
The Structure of the Neuron 
The Central Nervous System 
The Peripheral Nervous System 
The Two Hemispheres of the Cerebrum: Right and Left Lobes 
The Four Lobes of the Cerebrum: Speech, Language, and Cognitive Functions
The Arcuate Fasciculus 
Subcortical Structures and Language Functions
The Brain Stem 
Cognitive Functions and the Brain 
Skills Associated With the Brain 
Neurological Disorders 
Key Words 
Study Questions 

Chapter 4. Infant and Toddler Language Development
Sandra Levey

Chapter Objectives 
An Overview of Infant and Toddler Language Development 
Aspects of Children’s Language Development 
Parent/Caregiver and Child Interaction 
Joint Attention and Joint Action 
Phonological Development 
Cognitive Development 
The Development of Humor 
The Formation of Schemas 
The Development of Play 
Morphological Development 
Syntactic Development 
Pronoun Acquisition 
The Development of Negative, Interrogative, and Imperative Sentence Forms
Semantic Development 
Pragmatic Development 
Narrative Development 
Key Words 
Study Questions 

Chapter 5. Preschool Language Development
Sandra Levey

Chapter Objectives 
An Overview of Preschool Language Development 
Preschool-Aged Children’s Conceptual Development 
Language Development 
Syntactic Development 
Metalinguistic Awareness 
Key Words 
Study Questions 

Chapter 6. Language Development in Middle and Late Childhood and Adolescence
Sandra Levey and Denise Cruz

Chapter Objectives 
Early Childhood, Late Childhood, and Adolescence 
Syntactic and Morphological Development 
Pragmatic Development 
Literacy Skills in Early, Middle, and Later Grades 
Key Words 
Study Questions 

Chapter 7. The Development of Literacy Skills
Sylvia F. Diehl

Chapter Objectives 
The Development of Literacy 
Emergent Literacy 
Development of Code-Related Literacy 
Meaning-Related Literacy Developmental Milestones 
Supporting Literacy Development in the Preschool Years 
Literacy Development in the Elementary School Years
Supporting Literacy Development in the Elementary School Years 
Literacy Development in Adolescence
Supporting Adolescent Literacy Development 
Key Words 
Study Questions 

Chapter 8. Bilingual Children’s Language Development: Assessment and Intervention
Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin

Chapter Objectives 
Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition 
Typical Processes of Second Language Acquisition 
Simultaneous Versus Sequential Bilingual Acquisition 
Types of Language Proficiency 
Nonbiased Assessment: Principles and Strategies 
Language Difference Versus Developmental Language Disorder: Impact of the Environment
Diagnostic Decisions 
Legal Considerations 
Nonbiased Assessment and Standardized Tests 
The Advantages of Alternative Assessment 
Strategies for the Use of Alternative Assessments 
Utilizing the Services of Interpreters
The Use of Interpreters in Assessment 
Intervention for EL Students With DLD: Options for Students Who Qualify for Special Education
Determining the Language(s) of Intervention 
Potential Targets for Intervention 
Key Terms 
Study Questions 

Chapter 9. Language Development and Hearing
Brian J. Fligor

An Overview of the Role of Hearing in Language Development 
Chapter Objectives 
The Prevalence of Hearing Loss 
An Explanation of Hearing Abilities 
Types of Hearing Loss 
Normal Hearing Sensitivity in Children 
Hearing Assessment 
Sound Intensity and Frequency
The Impact of a Hearing Loss on Language Development 
The Effect of a Hearing Loss on Language Development 
Age of Onset of Hearing Loss 
Signs of a Hearing Loss Intervention
Devices Used for Hearing Habilitation: FM Systems, Hearing Aids, and Cochlear Implants
Key Words 
Study Questions 



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