About The Book


This classic text now in its tenth edition, The Development of Language continues its focus on language acquisition in an unbiased, authoritative, and comprehensive way. Written by leading experts known for their research in the areas they discuss, this book has a multidisciplinary approach, and demonstrates the relevance of typical language development to speech-language pathologists, educators, clinicians, and those in other professions. Topics include the roots of language learning in infancy, phonology, syntax/grammar, word learning, bilingualism, pragmatics, literacy, atypical language development, and more.

This book provides the reader with an authoritative text that includes important and useful concepts and research findings. Emphasis is placed on language development in children who are learning languages other than, or in addition to, English, as well as children with risk factors for language delay or disorder. The text leads the reader through every stage of development—the early months before children begin to speak, the preschool and school years, and adolescence as children achieve mastery of adult-like language skills.

Key Features

  • Chapter pedagogy includes learning objectives, visual aids, video links, summaries, and suggested projects to extend students’ understanding and application of text concepts
  • Key terms are highlighted in the text with definitions provided in a Glossary
  • Clear and concise writing by authors who are known for their research in the subject area and their ability to explain complex topics to a broad audience
  • A multilingual and multicultural focus on acquisition in languages other than English, on non-mainstream varieties of English and on children learning two or more languages simultaneously (bilingualism), as well as children with developmental communication disorders

New to the Tenth Edition

  • Restructure of chapters to streamline information
  • Greater in-depth coverage of concepts that are frequently more difficult for students to master
  • Updated references to new research and the current literature
  • References are now at the end of each chapter
  • New and updated figures and photos
  • Coverage of the latest technological advances in basic research and clinical practice in child language

About The Authors

Jean Berko Gleason, PhD is Professor Emerita in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. She created the Wug Test, the best known experimental study of children’s language acquisition. Dr. Berko Gleason’s research is frequently cited in the professional literature and featured in popular media. Her honors include an honorary degree from Washington and Jefferson College and the Roger Brown Award from the International Association for the Study of Child Language.

Nan Bernstein Ratner, EdD, CCC-SLP is a Professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Maryland at College Park. She conducts research that has been funded by both the US NIDCD and NSF, and publishes frequently in the areas of language acquisition and speech/language disorders. Dr. Bernstein Ratner is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is an ASHA Honors recipient.


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