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The University of Southampton

LING3001 Second Language Acquisition

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Provide you with insights into the processes involved in the acquisition of language;  - Introduce you to different theories of language acquisition;  - Equip you to critically assess these theories in the light of evidence.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Key constructs in SLA theory;
  • A range of current theoretical perspectives on language learning, and indicative supporting evidence;
  • The main characteristics and stages of L2 development.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe and critically evaluate a range of language acquisition theories;
  • Plan and implement an empirical investigation using linguistic data;
  • Relate knowledge of theoretical concepts in linguistics to empirical data.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Formulate a research question and implement a project to investigate it;
  • Analyse datasets systematically and extract results;
  • Reflect on and evaluate your own learning and skills.


First language acquisition, bilingual acquisition, and the implications of first language acquisition research for the study of SLA.  Second language acquisition. Particular attention will be paid to the following issues: - key concepts and research methods used to study second language acquisition - the nature of interlanguage and L2 developmental sequences - similarities and differences between first and second language acquisition - the role in SLA played by Universal Grammar - the role played by cognitive mechanisms - the role played by social factors

Special Features

Your knowledge and understanding of the SLA field will be developed through attendance at lectures, independent study and essay writing. Your research skills and project management skills will be developed through the data analysis task. Your critical thinking, reflective and problem solving abilities will be developed through seminar discussions and activities.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include * Lectures * Seminars * Assignment tutorials * Virtual learning environment (Blackboard) Learning activities include * Individual study and research * Group discussion and problemsolving (in seminars) * Designing and managing a project * Accessing online resources (e.g. learner corpora). Innovative or special features of this module  Data analysis task using learner corpus data

Independent Study128
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Mitchell, R and Myles, F (2004). Second Language Learning Theories. 

VanPatten, B and Williams, J (2007). Theories in Second Language Acquisition. 

Saville-Troike, M (2006). Introduction to Second Language Acquisition. 

Spada, N and Lightbown, P (2006). How Languages are Learned.. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback  Discussing draft reports and essays


MethodPercentage contribution
Data Analysis  (2000 words) 50%
Reflective essay  (2500 words) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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