Topics in Second Language Acquisition
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleLET-TWM-ETC403
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 year2021
PER 1-PER 2  (30/08/2021 to 30/01/2022)
Starting block
Course mode
RemarksAccessible to exchange students.
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
At the end of the course, you (i) will be able to understand state of the art L2 acquisition literature in considerable detail, (ii) can express and evaluate (dis)similarities between various theoretical positions, (ii) can identify questions, open ends and predictions of the various proposals and (iv) can synthesize (i)-(iii) into a new research proposal.
This course will give an overview of a variety of theoretical approaches to second language acquisition and highlight a number of current issues in the field. During the course, findings from recent psycholinguistic, as well as neurolinguistic, experimental studies and relevant models will be discussed, focussing in particular on second language acquisition in adults. In doing so, we will take a close look at a range of factors thought to affect second language learning including cognitive aspects, learner characteristics, and learning approaches. The aim of the course is to discuss and evaluate the different perspectives on these issues and to detect the theoretical and empirical gaps that can steer new research. In addition, we will practise critical thinking in relation to experimental research. You are expected to critically read scientific papers and give a presentation in order to get an understanding of theories and findings from the field of second language acquisition that are relevant today. Furthermore, you will write a critical reflection on one of the papers discussed in the course, and write a research proposal at the end of the course.

Presumed foreknowledge
Prior knowledge based on BA level courses on linguistics (e.g., syntax, phonology, second language acquisition) and research methodology (e.g., BA thesis on linguistics, or introductory statistics) is assumed.
Test information
Together with one or more fellow students, you will give a presentation about an experimental paper (20%) and write a critical reflection (20%). At the end of the course, you will write a 3000-word research proposal that addresses a specific research question/ thesis statement related to one of the discussed course topics, which may either be of a theoretical or practical nature. This final assignment is an individual one, and counts for 60% of your final grade. A research proposal must be submitted at the first attempt in order to take the re-sit. Capping applies to grades for submitted re-sits that have been improved based on instructor feedback (maximum score 7). More details on all assignments will be given in the course syllabus. 

Assumed previous knowledge
Note for exchange students: you cannot take this course if your English proficiency level is not at least C1 (TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC or Cambridge). A statement from your home university won't be accepted.

Recommended materials
Various journal articles and book chapters will be made available at start of course via Brightspace.
NB: you do not have to purchase this book.
Title:Thinking Critically about Research: A Step by Step Approach
Author:Jane Ogden
Publisher:Routledge, 2019

Instructional modes

Test weight20
Test typeOral exam
OpportunitiesBlock PER 1

Minimum grade

Critical reflection
Test weight20
Test typeProject
OpportunitiesBlock PER 1, Block PER 3

Minimum grade

Research proposel
Test weight60
Test typeProject
OpportunitiesBlock PER 2, Block PER 3

Minimum grade