LING-553 SLA/Bilingualism
Fall for 2017-2018
This course provides a general introduction to the two fields of second language acquisition and bilingualism and explores main questions and extant research from cognitive-interactionist, usage-based, and sociocultural theoretical perspectives. The first part of the course focuses on adult second language acquisition. We will examine universal, individual, and social sources of influence on the learning of additional languages later in life, or the development of late bi/multilingualism. These influences include age; crosslinguistic influences; the linguistic environment; cognition; development of learner language; aptitude, motivation and other sources of individual differences; and social dimensions of additional language learning. The second part of the course focuses on child bilingualism (including trilingualism and multilingualism). Key topics will include definitions of bilingualism; the course of bilingual first language development; the role of input in lexical, grammatical, and literacy development of young bi/multilinguals; harmonious bilingualism and bi/multilingual identities; cognitive benefits of bilingualism; and social, educational, and ideological forces that promote or hinder bi/multilingualism. The course builds on the interconnections between early and late bi/multilingualism and emphasizes the central role that cognition, society, and education play in shaping multiple-language learning across the life span.

Students will carry out small assignments and develop a course project, incrementally delivered in 4 installments, each followed by feedback from the instructor: Bibliography, proposal interim draft, and final draft. The project is designed to offer each student the scaffolded experience of a full cycle of research, involving the design of a study (e.g., a pilot, a replication, one element of a larger empirical study that is ongoing or to be carried out in the future), the collection and analysis of the data, and the writing up of the complete research report following academic conventions in the fields of bilingualism or SLA.

Course participants will read a selection of articles and 2 required textbooks:

Ortega, L. (2009). Understanding second language acquisition. London: Hodder Arnold. [ISBN: 978-0340905593]

De Houwer, A.(2009). An introduction to bilingual development. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. [ISBN: 978-1847691682]
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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