Second Language Acquisition
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleLET-ETCENB212
Credits (ECTS)5
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Arts; English Language and Culture;
dr. S.S. Bultena
Other course modules lecturer
dr. S.S. Bultena
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. S.S. Bultena
Other course modules lecturer
dr. S.S. Bultena
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2023
PER 3-PER 4  (29/01/2024 to 01/09/2024)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
The course aims for you to:
  • understand different theoretical approaches to L2 acquisition and be able to compare and evaluate them;
  • be able to describe and evaluate different factors which play a role in L2 acquisition;
  • be able to read and evaluate the gist of primary literature;
  • understand and be able to reproduce the basic concepts and methodologies used in L2 acquisition research;
  • be able to analyse L2 data and relate them to  relevant theories;
  • be able to identify (unanswered) questions in L2 acquisition research and make relevant predictions;
  • be capable of synthesising this newly acquired knowledge into a research proposal, which might serve as the basis for a BA thesis.
In this course we examine how adults and children acquire a second language (L2). This involves looking at similarities and differences with first language acquisition, the role of factors such as age, motivation and aptitude in L2 acquisition, and the implications of second language acquisition research for teaching. Apart from discussing theoretical notions from the field, we will also consider how to measure, analyse and interpret L2 learner data. In doing so, we will pay specific attention to research methodology. 

Presumed foreknowledge
The course builds on previous linguistics courses in the BA programme (Introduction to Linguistics, Phonetics, From Sounds to Words, Syntax), but none of these is a prerequisite to taking the course. 
Test information
Apart from two written exams, you are expected to write a research proposal at the end of the course. The proposal addresses a specific research question related to the course topic, which should be approved prior to submission. Members of a pair receive the same grade. More details concerning the structure and contents, as well as detailed assessment criteria for the research proposal (in the form of a rubric) will be given as the course progresses. Resit grades are capped (max 6), unless a completely new proposal is submitted.

Required materials
Please note that older editions differ in terms of chapter numbers, page numbers and contents. Purchasing an older edition means that you are responsible for converting the assigned readings.
Title:Second Language Acquisition. An Introductory Course
Author:Gass, S.M., Behney, J. & Plonsky, L.
Publisher:Oxford: Routledge, 2020

Recommended materials
Selected articles and other book chapters will be announced at the start of course and be made available via Brightspace.

Instructional modes


Exam part 1
Test weight30
Test typeWritten exam
OpportunitiesBlock PER 3, Block PER 4

Minimum grade

Research proposal
Test weight40
Test typeProject
OpportunitiesBlock PER 4, Block PER 4

Minimum grade

Exam part 2
Test weight30
Test typeWritten exam
OpportunitiesBlock PER 4, Block PER 4

Minimum grade