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SEL2230 : Multilingualism

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Rebecca Woods
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module focuses on the acquisition, retention, loss 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 first and second 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)
•       Biliteracy
•       Effects of multilingualism on non-linguistic cognitive processes
•       L2 language acquisition in adults
•       Language attrition
•       Heritage languages
•       Language policy in multilingual contexts and the politics of multilingualism

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).

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Poster2M25A lay-facing poster (or equivalent, see below) on an aspect of multilingualism relevant to a specific identifiable group in society.
Written exercise2A753000-word written piece comprising 2 equally-weighted exercises: (i) original data analysis, (ii) short essay on central topic.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The mid-semester poster evaluates the ability to synthesise existing data, theory and practices and distil and present these in a poster format familiar to and targeted at a non-academic audience of the students' choosing. The poster may be presented as a traditional poster, or in an equivalent digital format e.g. as a short campaign on social media (Instagram, TikTok, etc. The poster is prepared as a group. If appropriate (e.g. for reasons relating to an SSP), an equivalent individual assessment may be agreed with the module leader.

The written exercise 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, learning, and retention, as addressed in the module content.

Reading Lists