LING219-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Language Acquisition

15 points
16 Jul 2018 - 18 Nov 2018


This course deals with key aspects of how human language is acquired by children, from infancy to adolescence. Selected topics in bilingual and second language development are also covered.

This course explores the psychology of language acquisition in infants, children and adults. With a focus on oral language development, and opportunities for hands-on experience of language acquisition research, it will explore what we know about how first language, bilingual language, and second language are acquired and what can both help and hinder those developments.

How do we humans acquire languages? Why can we do this while other species cannot? Why can we acquire several languages in childhood but find it so much more difficult to acquire languages later in life? What helps us learn and what can hinder us? Does it matter what language we are acquiring? If we cease to use our languages will we lose them? What happens to language when there is brain damage? This course is relevant for pre-service and in-service teachers at all levels; those interested in becoming second/foreign language teachers or in improving their teaching practice; those in developmental psychology and/or linguistics; and those interested in entering clinical fields.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will have an understanding of:

  • The paths of typical language development in children and adults
  • Differences between learners and the possible impacts on language acquisition
  • The prerequisites for successful language acquisition
  • The causes and consequences of less successful acquisition
  • Some of the techniques for understanding language acquisition


LING101 or LING111 or ENGL123 or ENGL112 or relevant background in EDUC or EDED or PSYC with the approval of the Head of Department.


CMDS221, LING205

Timetable 2018

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 11:00 - 13:00 Psychology - Sociology 213 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 11:00 - 12:00 John Britten 117 HP Seminar Room 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct

Course Coordinator

Susan Foster-Cohen


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Transcript 08 Aug 2018 10%
MLU of transcript 22 Aug 2018 10%
In-class test 1 22 Aug 2018 10%
3 Articles and commentary 12 Sep 2018 30%
Full transcript analysis 03 Oct 2018 30%
In-class test 2 17 Oct 2018 10%


Required Texts

Rowland, Caroline; Understanding Child Language Acquisition; Taylor and Francis, 2013.

Saville-Troike, Muriel,1936-; Introducing second language acquisition; 2nd ed; Cambridge University Press, 2012 (3rd edition preferred).

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $746.00

International fee $3,038.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences.

All LING219 Occurrences

  • LING219-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018