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Bilingualism - LAN00025H

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Catherine Laing
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24

Module summary

In this module we explore bilingualism across a range of perspectives. We consider how being bilingual affects language processing and use over the course of lifespan, and how it affects development. We think about the role of bilingualism in society and education, and how bilingual speakers use their two (or more) languages in different linguistic contexts.

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

This module will provide an overview of bilingual processing and use, bilingual development and education and the possible effects of bilingualism on aspects of cognition. Some of the issues to be considered are:

  • the dynamic nature of bilingualism over the lifespan

  • code-switching in adults and in children

  • the controversy over one system vs. two in simultaneous bilingual acquisition

  • bilingualism and education

  • the relation between bilingualism and cognitive processing

Module learning outcomes

At the end of this module you will be able to:

  • understand bilingualism from a linguistic, psycholinguistic, developmental and educational perspective

  • identify linguistic phenomena that are typical of bilingual language use

  • work with online corpora of bilingual data to identify and extract suitable data for linguistic analysis

  • analyse (qualitatively or quantitatively) linguistic data from bilingual speakers

  • develop your own research questions and hypotheses

  • write about bilingualism in a precise and technical way

Module content

The module will cover topics including:

  • Bilingual processing

  • Bilingual development

  • Code-switching

  • Bilingualism and education

  • Bilingualism and cognition


Task Length % of module mark
Data-based essay 2500 words
N/A 60
Open Exam (7-day week)
N/A 40

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Data-based essay 2500 words
N/A 60
Open Exam (7-day week)
N/A 40

Module feedback

Summative feedback will be given within 25 working days of the submission date.

Assessment 1

Annotation on submitted work

Assessment 2

Feedback grid relating to criteria assessed in the summative data-based essay, to be returned by the end of Week 11.

Assessment 3

Annotation on submitted work

Indicative reading

Brulard, I., & Carr, P. (2003). French-English bilingual acquisition of phonology: One production system or two? International Journal of Bilingualism, 7(2), 177-202.

Gardner-Chloros, P., McEntee-Atalianis, L., & Paraskeva, M. (2013). Code-switching and pausing: an interdisciplinary study. International Journal of Multilingualism, 10(1), 1-26.

Locay, L., Regan, T. L., & Diamond, A. M. (2013). The effects of Spanish-language background on completed schooling and aptitude test scores. Economic Inquiry, 51(1), 527–562.

Mägiste, E. (1979). The competing language systems of the multilingual. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 18, 79-89.

Pearson, B. Z. (2007). Social factors in childhood bilingualism in the United States. Applied Psycholinguistics, 28, 399-410.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.