LANG 7022 Investigating Second Language Acquisition

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 100919

Coordinator Stacey Sherwood Opens in new window

Description This subject is intended for Linguistics Honours students as well as TESOL and Interpreting and Translation Postgraduate students aiming to provide a focused theoretical and research framework in the area of second language acquisition (SLA) from a psycholinguistic viewpoint. This subject widens the theoretical and methodological basis of students intending to undertake further studies and/or research in the Linguistics and SLA area and also serves the TESOL and languages teachers interested in applying SLA-based knowledge to language learning, pedagogy and classroom research.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Linguistics

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject

Equivalent Subjects LGYB 3375 - Investigating Second Language Acquisition


Students must be enrolled in a postgraduate program.

Assumed Knowledge

Knowledge of a LOTE and/or some Linguistics and/or some language teaching experience.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Provide an overview of the recent history of second language acquisition as shaped by early studies based on contrastive analysis, error analysis and the concept of interlanguage
  2. Critically appraise current studies, theoretical models and methodologies adopted in the investigation of second language acquisition.
  3. Identify individual and social factors purported to have a role in the successful acquisition of a second language in both natural and classroom settings.
  4. Demonstrate the developmental and variational dimensions of language acquisition as envisaged, for instance, by Processability Theory and apply this knowledge to profiling of learner language. 
  5. Critically appraise the “Teachability Hypothesis'' and current L2 pedagogy including communicative language teaching and 'focus on form'.
  6. Design and conduct a small-scale project investigating some aspect of second language acquisition or L2 instruction, or Interpreting and Translation skills learning and pedagogy.
  7. Use computer-aided linguistic corpus analysis as a research tool.

Subject Content

  • Overview of The historical development of language acquisition as A field of Study including interlanguage studies and findings.
  • Overview of main theories and explanatory frameworks used to account for second language acquisition, including current frameworks such as Universal Grammar and Processability Theory.
  • The question of linguistic environment and individual Factors including key characteristics of natural and Instructional settings for second language acquisition.
  • Key developmental and variational features in second language learners including The learning of discourse-pragmatic functions.
  • Possible effects of instruction and The Teachability Hypothesis.
  • Methodological and technical Issues in second language acquisition research
  • Profiling and corpus analysis as an empirical basis for research and language assessment;
  • Elements of computer-aided language analysis.


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Quiz 45 mins each 40 N Individual
Report report: 2000-3000 words research proposal: 1500 - 2000 words 60 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Saville-Troike, M. (2012). Introducing Second Language Acquisition (Second Edition). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Teaching Periods

Spring (2023)

Parramatta City - Macquarie St


Subject Contact Stacey Sherwood Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window

Spring (2024)

Parramatta City - Macquarie St


Subject Contact Stacey Sherwood Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window