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SEL8683 : Topics in 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


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
•       Heritage languages
•       Codeswitching (use of multiple languages in a single utterance or discourse)
•       Language policy in multilingual contexts and the politics of multilingualism

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion501:0050:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading451:0045:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops31:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study721:0072:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
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).

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.
Written exercise2M60Detailed analysis of a provided dataset, linking to broader issues in multilingual language acquisition and/or use.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The practical exercise evaluates Knowledge Outcomes 3, 5 and 6, 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. This will scaffold students' development in Research Methods in preparation for their Semester 3 dissertation.

The written exercise evaluates Knowledge Outcomes 1-6 and Skill Outcomes 1, 3-5.
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.

Reading Lists