LING-251 How Languages are Learned
Fall for 2017-2018
This course will introduce you to central questions, theories, debates, and research findings in the areas of first and second language development, with an emphasis on the latter. We will address questions central to this quickly growing field such as:
- What stages do children go through in acquiring a first language?
- Is it possible to attain ‘native-like’ proficiency if you start learning a language after childhood?
- How might language learning occur most effectively after childhood?
- What is the role of input, interaction, and feedback in second-language development?
- How do individual differences such as intelligence, aptitude, and motivation affect L2 development? Are some people just better than others at language learning?
- Are there differences in how languages may best be learned across different contexts (e.g., naturalistic exposure vs. classroom instruction vs. study abroad)?
- What is the role of technology in second language learning?
- What are the cognitive benefits of knowing more than one language? Can knowing another language affect the way you think?
We will critically evaluate and synthesize seminal and current work in these areas, as well as consider how theories and empirical findings can inform current educational policies and practice. The class will be highly interactive, with a combination of lecture, small-group, and whole-class discussion designed deepen your understanding of the literature and develop your ability to be a critical consumer of research.
Other academic years
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