This chapter lays the theoretical foundations of the analyses in this book. The book addresses two major themes. First, language does not stand alone as the crowning achievement of infancy. Rather, other equally complex achievements are ongoing and contribute to linguistic development. Second, a set of precursor achievements organized from a dynamic systems perspective can successfully predict, for individual children, the onset of referential word use. The use of dynamic systems theory to study how infants acquire language is discussed. An overview of the succeeding chapters is presented.
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