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MA Second Language Acquisition

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  • Objectives
    To provide a theoretically-grounded introduction to contemporary work on non-primary language acquisition (acquisition of second, third and other languages). To explore methodologies available for investigating non-primary language acquisition. To allow students to choose areas of special study in which to deepen their knowledge. To prepare students to undertake independent research into non-primary language acquisition.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Qualifications A good degree. For non-native speakers of English, an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent.
  • Academic Title
    MA Second Language Acquisition
  • Course description

    Course Description
    The MA in Second Language Acquisition looks at how recent advances in linguistics have provided important insights into the learning of second languages. The focus is on understanding exactly what second language learners know of the grammatical and phonological properties of the language being learnt, how they acquire that knowledge and how they use it.

    Modules and Options

    The lists of modules below represent the range of options available for each year of study. This may not be a complete list of the options you will study, and may be subject to change, so please contact the department for further details.

    Stage 1

        Compulsory: ACQUISITION OF SECOND LANGUAGE PHONOLOGY
        Compulsory: APPROACHES TO SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
        Compulsory: EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN AND ANALYSIS
        Compulsory: FOUNDATIONS OF LINGUISTICS
        Core: DISSERTATION: MA

    Teaching and Assessment Methods
     
    A: Knowledge and Understanding
        Learning Outcomes
        A1 : Familiarity with the central concepts of modern generative grammar, and how they are applied to questions and problems in research into second language acquisition.
        A2 : Systematic understanding of major research questions, leading ideas and controversies in research into second language acquisition.
        A3 : Understanding of the relationship between theory and evidence in research into language acquisition.
        A4 : Knowledge of the techniques and methods of analysis used in linguistically informed research into non-primary language acquisition.
        A5 : Specialist knowledge of one or more areas of investigation into the acquisition of non-primary languages.

        Teaching Methods
        Learning methods
        Methods employed include:
        Lectures, seminars and classes (A1-5)
        Individual supervision for work leading to the dissertation (A1-5)
        Library and web materials (A1-5)
        Independent learning and research (A1-5)
        Computer lab sessions (A4)
        Written/oral feedback on assessed coursework (A1-5)

        Assessment Methods
        Assessment methods involve
        Coursework essays (A1-5)
        Practical exercises (A1, A3, A4)
        Research dissertation (A1-5)

    B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        B1 : Analysis and description of complex language data.
        B2 : Use of evidence to support argumentation.
        B3 : Critical evaluation of argumentation.
        B4 : Production of coherent, well-researched and well-argued writing.
        B5 : Formulating research hypotheses, planning and managing a research project.

        Teaching Methods
        Methods employed include:
        Exercise material in seminars and classes (B1)
        Library and web materials (B2-5)
        Coursework essays and written/oral feedback (B1-5)
        Project work (B5)
        Dissertation supervision (B1-5)
        Independent learning and research (B1-5)

        Assessment Methods
        Assessment methods involve:
        Coursework essays (B1-4)
        Practical exercises (B1-3)
        Research dissertation (B1-5)

    C: Practical Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        C1 : Ability to use text-based and on-line resources to address specific research questions.
        C2 : Ability to analyse linguistic datasets in terms of their grammatical properties.
        C3 : Ability to apply descriptive statistics to results from language research and be aware of the role of inferential statistics in language research.
        C4 : Ability to initiate, plan and carry out an original research project.

        Teaching Methods
        Methods employed include:
        Lectures, seminars and classes (C1-4)
        Exercise material in seminars and classes (C2-3)
        Library and web materials (C1)
        Coursework essays and written/oral feedback (C1-4)
        Dissertation supervision (C1-4)

        Assessment Methods
        Assessment methods involve:
        Coursework essays (C1-4)
        Practical exercises (C2-3)
        Research dissertation (C1-4)

    D: Key Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        D1 : (a) Ability to write coherent, concise and informed responses in essays, reviews, reports, using technical terms appropriately. (b) Ability to present a coherent, concise and informed line of argument orally.
        D2 : (a) Basic word processing and internet skills. (b) Ability to communicate through e-mail. (c) Ability to use on-line library resources in investigating research questions.
        D3 : (a) Ability to use descriptive statistics (b) Awareness of the role of basic inferential statistics
        D4 : (a) Ability to apply linguistic tools in the analysis of unseen data (b) Ability to produce well-organised responses to new problems
        D5 : (a) Ability to evaluate own written work critically. (b) Knowledge of the key resources in the discipline required for pursuing own learning further.

        Teaching Methods
        Methods employed include:
        Lectures, seminars and classes (D1, 3-5)
        Non-assessed workshop and training courses (D1,2)
        Exercise material in seminars and classes (D3,4)
        Library and web materials (D6)
        Coursework essays and written/oral feedback (D1-4,6)
        Dissertation supervision (D1-4, 6)
        Module on research design (D3-5)
        Independent learning and research (D2,4,6)

        Assessment Methods
        Coursework essays (D1-4,6)
        Practical exercises (D3-5)
        Research dissertation (D1-4,6)

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