LG438-7-SP-CO:
Nature and Nurture in Second Language Acquisition

The details
2020/21
Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Spring
Postgraduate: Level 7
Current
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
15
19 May 2020

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

Key module for

(none)

Module description

The module explores the relative importance of nature and nurture in second language (L2) development. Through examining the L2 acquisition of specific aspects of language (e.g. words, grammar), the respective roles of input and innateness are compared and critically evaluated.

Module aims

The module aims to familiarise students with some well-known facts about how second languages are learned. The role that innate linguistic knowledge (‘nature’) plays, and the effects of input on development (‘nurture’) are examined. Theories that make use of these factors to explain how second languages are learned are evaluated.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module you should be able to describe some of the ways in which learners develop knowledge of a target second language, and have a clear understanding of some of the topics which have been addressed by researchers who have studied second language learner development. You will be familiar with some of the techniques used to collect data, and you will have assessed some of the theories which have been proposed to account for second language development by researchers working within a generative paradigm.

Module information

Syllabus

* The nature of the task facing the (second) language learner
* How words and their parts are learned (1– uniquely identifiable)
* How words and their parts are learned (2 – meaning modifying)
* How words and their parts are learned (3- dependency marking)
* How sentence structure is learned
* How sentential meaning is learned
* Speculations, hypotheses, theories and frameworks in the investigation of SLA
* The role of input
* The effects of age on L2 learning – an introduction
* Nature and nurture in the acquisition of second languages

Learning and teaching methods

Two-hour seminar per week.

Bibliography*

  • HAWKINS, ROGER. (2018) HOW SECOND LANGUAGES ARE LEARNED: an introduction: CAMBRIDGE UNIV Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Assignment 1: 1500 Words    50% 
Coursework   Assignment 2: 1500 Words    50% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Florence Myles, email: fmyles@essex.ac.uk.
Florence Myles
Prof Florence Myles; Office 4.131; tel 2228; fmyles@essex.ac.uk

 

Availability
No
No
Yes

External examiner

Dr Sarah Ann Liszka
University of Greenwich
Senior Lecturer
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Linguistics

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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