Language Acquisition and Development (Elective)

Language Acquisition and Development

Instructor: Dora Hsin-Yi Lu, Ph. D.

Course Aims:

This course is an introductory course that covers various topics in child language development and second language acquisition. Students will be able to know how child learn languages, the processes of language development, learn theories of first and second language acquisition, and be able to apply these knowledge to propose research projects on related topics and integrate these knowledge in writing lesson plans for language teaching.

Proposed Topics:

  1. Introduction to language development
  2. Biological bases of language learning
  3. Phonological & lexical development
  4. Syntax, cognition development
  5. Literacy, reading and writing development
  6. Language learning and teaching
  7. Introduction to SLA
  8. Age
  9. Crosslinguistic influences
  10. The linguistic environment
  11. Cognition
  12. Development of learner language
  13. Foreign language aptitude
  14. Motivation
  15. Affect and other individual differences
  16. Social dimensions of L2 learning


  1. Attendance & Participation (20%)
    Attendance is required for this course. Students are expected to complete weekly readings before each class, and be fully prepared for class discussion (with questions and contributions).
    Participation will be evaluated from class discussions and involvement in class activities.
  2. Course Written Assignments (30%)
    Written Assignment will be assigned based on topics. Assignments may include reflections, lesson plans, questions and comments on readings, essay questions or small projects.  All written assignments should be turned in on time. Due dates will be specified clearly when assignments are distributed. Late assignment suffers a 10% deduction in grades.
  3. Oral presentations & discussions (20%)
    Each enrolled student will be responsible for leading discussions on required readings once during the semester. The presentation and discussion should include not only key points of the readings, but also your comments, questions or reflections of the texts.
  4. Final Project (30%)
    Registered students are required to turn in a research proposal at the end of the semester. The proposal should be related to language development, acquisition or language teaching.

Selected chapters from Required Textbooks:

  1. Gleason, J. B. (2012). The development of language, 8th ed, Boston, MA:
    Allyn & Bacon.
  2. Ortega, L. (2009). Understanding Second Language Acquisition (USLA). London: Hodder. ISBN: 978 0 340 90559 3
  3. Brown, Douglas H. (2014). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching: a course in second language acquisition 6th ed. NY: Pearson Education.

References & Recommended Readings:

  1. Gass, S., & Selinker, L. (2008). Second language acquisition: An introductory course (3rd Edition). New York: Routledge.
  2. Hadley, Alice Omaggio. (2001). Teaching language in context. (Third Edition). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.
  3. Hoff, E. (2013). Language Development, 5th Edition. Wadsworth.
  4. Owen, R. (2011). Language Development: An Introduction. 8th ed., Boston, MA:
    Allyn & Bacon.
  5. De Bot, K., W. Lowie, & M. Verspoor. (2005). Second language acquisition. An advanced resource book. London: Routledge.
  6. Doughty, C.J., & M.H. Long. (2003). The handbook of second language acquisition. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
  7. Lightbown, P.M., & N. Spada. (2006). How languages are learned. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  8. VanPatten. B. (2003). From input to output. A teacher’s guide to second language acquisition. Boston.
  9. Abrahamsson, N., & Hyltenstam, K. (2008). The robustness of aptitude effects in near-native second language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 30, 481–509.
  10. Bardovi-Harlig, K. (1994). Reverse-order reports and the acquisition of tense: Beyond the principle of chronological order. Language Learning, 44, 243-282.
  11. Brown, A., & Gullberg, M. (2008). Bidirectional crosslinguistic influence in L1-L2 encoding of manner in speech and gesture: A study of Japanese speakers of English. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 30, 225–251.
  12. Clément, R., Z. Dörnyei and K. A. Noels. (1994). Motivation, self-confidence, and group cohesion in the foreign language classroom. Language Learning 44: 417-448.
  13. Conklin, K., & Schmitt, N. (2008). Formulaic sequences: Are they processed more quickly than nonformulaic language by native and nonnative speakers? Applied Linguistics, 29, 72-89
  14. Guilloteaux, M. J., & Dörnyei, Z. (2008). Motivating language learners: A classroom-oriented investigation of the effects of motivational strategies on student motivation. TESOL Quarterly, 42, 55-77.
  15. Eckerth, J. (2009). Negotiated interaction in the L2 classroom. Language Teaching, 42, 109-130.
  16. Firth, A., & Wagner, J. (1997). On discourse, communication, and (some) fundamental concepts in SLA research. The Modern Language Journal91, 800-819.
  17. Ioup, G., Boustagoui, E., Tigi, M., & Moselle, M. (1994). Reexamining the Critical Period Hypothesis: A case of successful adult SLA in a naturalistic environment. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 16, 73-98.
  18. Jia, G. and A. Fuse. (2007). Acquisition of English grammatical morphology by native Mandarin speaking children and adolescents: age‐related differences. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research 50: 1280-1299.
  19. Muñoz, C. (2008). Symmetries and asymmetries of age effects in naturalistic and instructed L2 learning. Applied Linguistics, 29, 578-596.
  20. Schmidt, R. (1983). Interaction, acculturation, and the acquisition of communicative competence. In N. Wolfson & E. Judd (Eds.), Sociolinguistics and language acquisition (pp. 137-174). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
  21. Yan, J. X., & Horwitz, E. K. (2008). Learners’ perceptions of how anxiety interacts with personal and instructional factors to influence their achievement in English: A qualitative analysis of EFL learners in China. Language Learning, 58, 151–183.
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