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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-existingmental 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.