Module Catalogue 2023/24

SEL2086 : Introduction to Child and Adult Language Acquisition (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Emma Nguyen
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
SEL1027Introduction to the Structure of Language 1: Syntax and Phonology
Pre Requisite Comment

Though not required, this module is particularly suitable for students with backgrounds or interests in interdisciplinary studies including psychology, education, neuroscience

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment

Though not required, this module is particularly suitable for students with backgrounds or interests in interdisciplinary studies including psychology, education, neuroscience


To provide students with an introduction to the main theories, questions, methods of investigation, and discoveries in the two fields of a) child language development and b) adult second language acquisition.

Outline Of Syllabus

Part I Child language development
Theoretical questions and perspectives on child language
What needs to be acquired and the challenges facing the child
How can we investigate child language
Brain and language development
Role of nurture in language development

Part II Second language acquisition
Theoretical perspectives on second language acquisition
The empirical study of interlanguage
L1 influence
Acquisition of morphosytax/syntax
The critical period
Acquisition of phonology
Individual differences
Social context

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students will be able to:

Child language development:
Demonstrate basic understanding of main theories in the field
Demonstrate familiarity with the main methodologies in the field
Demonstrate familiarity with major empirical discoveries

Second langauge acquisition:
Particular focus will be given to understanding of the following issues:
-acquisition in several domains (morphosyntax/syntax and phonology)
-developmental sequences
-similarities and differences between first and second language acquisition
-the role of the first language in the second language acquisition process
-the role played by universals
-the role played by other factors such as instruction and social context

Intended Skill Outcomes

- critical thinking
- problem solving
- take notes effectively, in workshops and lectures and from journal articles and book chapters
- construct a coherent argument based on a range of evidence
- group work
- tabulation and analysis second language acquisition data
- visual presentation of results
- written expression

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion145:0045:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading168:0068:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity120:0020:00inc. 10 hours directed groupwork
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study124:0024:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures will present and explain theoretical frameworks, methodologies, and empirical discoveries, while the workshops will a) reinforce the lectures, b) provide students with opportunities to participate in classroom debates based on assigned readings, and c) support students in analysing (in smaller teams) a small dataset for the second language acquisition part of the module. Students will be expected to read assigned material in advance of the lectures and seminars. Private study time will be devoted to preparatory reading for both lectures and seminars.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination991M50Mid-module exam to objectively test student understanding of foundational notions in child language at end of Part 1.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A502000 word essay on a topic in Second Language Acquisition
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Assessed by an examination, an oral presentation on analysis of second language data (morphosyntax/syntax or phonology) and an individual data analysis exercise (on the linguistic domain not selected for the group presentation).

Written Examination
The midterm exam probes understanding of foundational concepts and empirical facts presented during the first half (child language development) of this module, preparing students for the Stage 3 module SEL3352.

The team poster involves students in gaining/honing the skills they will need for writing papers. It
develops students' skills in analysis of data from corpora such as TalkBank or from YouTube videos. This assignment give students skills and ideas for further work in second language acquisition, e.g. on an extended study or dissertation and for the Stage 3 module, SEL3012, for which students have to design their own study and collect their own data.

Study abroad assessment: same


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.