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LN3008: FIRST AND SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION (2020-2021)

Last modified: 21 Jul 2020 15:55


Course Overview

This course provides a general introduction to theories and approaches in first and second language acquisition and introduces students to research in the field. In particular, the course provides students with an understanding of Universal Grammar (UG), behaviourism, interactionism, and frequency-based perspectives of language acquisition. Internal and external factors that influence the course of first and second language development are explored.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
Co-ordinators
  • Dr Elspeth Edelstein

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?

None.

What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?

No

Course Description

Course Aims

This course aims to give students:
1. an in-depth understanding of the way in which children and adults develop first and second language in different learning contexts
2. a critical understanding of similarities and differences between first language acquisition in childhood, second language acquisition in childhood and second language acquisition in adulthood
3. an understanding of how various aspects of language (phonology, morphology, lexis, syntax and pragmatics) are learned
4. an opportunity to critically evaluate a range of theories of first and second language acquisition using authentic language data and the existing research

Main Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students will:
1. critically analyse the way in which children and adults develop first and second language in different learning contexts
2. identify similarities and differences between first language acquisition in childhood, second language acquisition in childhood and second language acquisition in adulthood
3. compare and evaluate a range of theories of first and second language acquisition using authentic language data and the existing research
4. relate the existing research in second language learning to teaching practice in classrooms
5. identify ethical and methodological challenges in the existing research
6. identify gaps and issues for future research

Course Content

This course provides a general introduction to theories and approaches in first and second language acquisition and introduces students to research in the field. In particular, the course provides students with an understanding of Universal Grammar (UG), behaviourism, interactionism, and frequency-based perspectives of language acquisition. Internal and external factors that influence the course of first and second language development are explored. The roles of learner factors such as age, first language, and other individual difference variables are briefly discussed. The application of second language acquisition theory and research to aspects of second language teaching is also explored. The questions explored in class include, for example, how children go from babbling to one-word sentences to the full complexity of adult grammar in a span of merely a few years, how the brains of individuals who learn two languages simultaneously differ from those who learn a second language later on in life, and how using a second language can influence the way we use our native language.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 8 - 18

More Information about Week Numbers


In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for courses may be subject to change. All updates for first-half session courses will be actioned no later than 1700 (GMT) on 18 September 2020. All updates for second half-session courses will be actioned in advance of second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

2500 words (5 entries of 500 words) reflective journal (35%)

Final Essay - 3000 words (65%)

Alternative Resit Arrangements for students taking course in Academic Year 2020/21

Resit: 3,000 word essay (100%)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome

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