Do all children learn language in the same way? Is the apparent `fast' versus `slow' learning rate among children a reflection of the individual child's approach to language acquisition? This volume explores the importance that individual differences have in language acquisition and challenges some widely held theories of linguistic development.
Focusing on one- to three-year-old children, Cecilia Shore describes characteristic differences in terms of vocabulary, grammatical and phonological development. She considers whether distinctive 'styles' of language development can be defined and also examines social and cognitive influences that may explain individual differences. In conclusion, she discusses new language theories - such as the ecological, chaos and connectionist approaches - and considers what individual differences in development can tell us about the mechanisms of language development.