Module Catalogue 2024/25

SEL2230 : Multilingualism

SEL2230 : Multilingualism

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Rebecca Woods
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Code Title
SEL2235CHiLD: Current Hypotheses in Language Development
Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



This module focuses on the acquisition and use of two or more languages throughout the lifespan of an individual. It considers how two or more languages are represented in one mind, how languages interact in use, as well as building on and extending students' knowledge of child language acquisition and language change. It also considers issues around the role of languages in shaping identity and society.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics covered in this module will include:

- Bi/multilingual first language acquisition (phonology and syntax)
- Effects of multilingualism on non-linguistic cognitive processes
- Codeswitching (the use of multiple languages in an utterance or discourse)
- Heritage languages and their users

Techniques developed in this module will include:
- Multilingual data analysis and use of descriptive grammars to facilitate this

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of the module, students will have acquired:
1. An advanced understanding of the cognitive mechanisms for representing two or more languages (building on materials in SEL2235)
2. An understanding of the effects of multilingualism on non-linguistic cognitive processes
3. An understanding of the differences between monolingual and multilingual first language acquisition
4. An understanding of the linguistic and social issues experienced by heritage language users
5. An understanding of how languages may (and are not) mixed and/or blended by multilingual language users in single utterances or in discourses

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the module, students will:
1. Be able to evaluate with sensitivity the role of language in shaping identity and society
2. Be able to extract meaningful datasets from corpora of multilingual child language production using CHILDES/CLAN
3. Be able to use descriptive grammars to parse multilingual data
4. Be able to draw on and appropriately analyse multilingual data to address a hypothesis and to critique theoretical and theoretically-informed research

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion401:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading671:0067:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study601:0060:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SEL8683Topics in Multilingualism
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide the principal source of core content (knowledge) delivery and directions for guided independent learning. Seminars provide the principal source of developing core skills in analytical techniques as well as a space for clarifying knowledge content and testing the limits of theories and concepts through group discussion. The computer-based workshops are a second source of developing core skills, specifically in how to navigate key data sources such as multilingual child language corpora (e.g. CHILDES) and codeswitching corpora (e.g. the Bangor group of corpora).

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2A40Creation of a small scale multilingual dataset using CHILDES/CLAN, with explicit description and discussion of methods employed and decisions made. 1500 words.
Written exercise2M60Detailed analysis of a provided dataset, linking to broader issues in multilingual language acquisition and/or use. 2000 words.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The practical exercise evaluates Knowledge Outcomes 3 and 5, and Skill Outcomes 2, 3 and 4. It evaluates students' abilities to form a meaningful hypothesis about multilingual language acquisition and use and extract a dataset that could be used to meaningfully address that hypothesis.

The written exercise evaluates Knowledge Outcomes 1-5 and Skill Outcomes 1, 3 and 4.
It evaluates students' ability to (i) apply their skills in data manipulation and analysis to a novel dataset and evaluate the results with respect to existing work in multilingualism, and (ii) evaluate and critique theories concerning aspects of multilingual language use and acquisition, as addressed in the module content.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 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 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.