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Psycholinguistic Approaches to Second Language Acquisition - LAN00055H

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Heather Marsden
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21
    • See module specification for other years: 2018-19

Module summary

Psycholinguistic research into second language acquisition asks questions about how a second language is processed in real time, in terms of comprehension and production, and in terms of both spoken and written language. You will approach this topic by reading and discussing primary research papers that use psycholinguistic methods (including self-paced reading and listening, and eye-tracking) to conduct experimental research.

To take this module, you must have completed Psycholinguistics (LAN00027H)

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2020-21 to Summer Term 2020-21

Module aims

Psycholinguistic research into second language acquisition asks questions about how a second language is processed in terms of comprehension and production, and in terms of both spoken and written language. Of key interest are questions about the roles played by a speaker's first language, by working memory, and - in the context of classroom-based learning - by language instruction, in second language production/comprehension. This module is based around student-led discussion of primary research papers. It will:

  • introduce psycholinguistic approaches to the study of second language acquisition through reading and discussion of primary research articles. 'Second language acquisition' will be understood in its broadest sense, so readings may cover simultaneous bilingualism, sequential bilingualism, and multilingualism;
  • familiarize students with a variety of psycholinguistic research methods used to study second language acquisition, including self-paced listening/reading, cross-modal priming, and eye-tracking. A range of aspects of second language knowledge will be covered, including at least three of syntax, semantics, phonology, speech perception, vocabulary, literacy;
  • develop students' understanding of the key elements of good research design and informative presentation of results, including reporting of statistics, within psycholinguistic research.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • understand key questions that motivate psycholinguistic research into second language acquisition;
  • explain a variety of psycholinguistic research techniques, including knowing which techniques are appropriate to what kind of research question;
  • understand the reporting of results, including statistical data, in a psycholinguistic study and be able to evaluate the effectiveness of different ways of presenting results;
  • write a proposal for a psycholinguistic investigation of second language acquisition.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Research proposal (2000 words)
N/A 60
Essay/coursework
Two-part essay (1500 words)
N/A 40

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Reassessment: Essay 2,500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback on formative work within two weeks of submission.

Student presentations (in groups) during seminars also serve as formative work. Oral feedback will be provided immediately following the presentation.

Feedback on summative exercises: class feedback in the last teaching session. Individual marks (and written feedback, by appointment) within 20 working days of submission.

Feedback on summative research proposal within 20 working days of submission.

Indicative reading

A set of primary research papers will be assigned. In addition, the following textbook is recommended:

Jegerski, J., & VanPatten, B. (eds.). 2014. Research Methods in Second Language Psycholinguistics. New York/Abingdon: Routledge.

Suggestions for reading before the module starts

1. As a general introduction to the topic:

VanPatten, B. 2014. The psycholinguistics of SLA. Chapter 1 in J. Jegerski & B. VanPatten (eds.) Research Methods in Second Language Psycholinguistics. New York/Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 1-19.

2. To prepare for reading the statistical reporting in the assigned papers:

Brown, J. D. 1991. Statistics as a Foreign Language—Part 1: What to Look for in Reading Statistical Language Studies. Tesol Quarterly 25: 569–586.

Brown, J. D. 1992. Statistics as a Foreign Language—Part 2: More Things to Consider in Reading Statistical Language Studies. Tesol Quarterly 26: 629–664.



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.