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Cognitive approaches to second language acquisition


Admission requirements

An introductory course in language acquisition or psycholinguistics at MA or BA3 level at a university.


The course addresses the acquisition and use of a second language from a cognitive perspective. One of the main rationales for this perspective has been that degree of success in learning a second language is heterogeneous rather than the (claimed) homogeneous success for native language learning. Cognitive approaches to second language learning seek answers to the question why individuals differ in this way. Research has focused on how information is processed and represented, on relevant individual characteristics (such as proficiency in the first language, age, level of education, and working memory capacity), and on pedagogical tasks.

Course objectives

To learn to read and interpret the relevant literature;
To learn to collect new relevant literature on a given topic;
To learn to synthesize and present research literature;
To learn to collect, analyze, and report on data for a specific research question;
To understand the most relevant theories.


The timetable is available on the MA Linguistics website

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Attending seminars: 26 hours
Weekly homework: 26 hours
Reading: 90 hours
Research project (including writing): 126 hours
Presentation: 12 hours

Assessment method

Presentation 30%
Course Paper 70%

The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.

Resit: students who fail the course may resit the course paper.

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


This course will be supported by Blackboard.

  • information on the course and on assignments

  • notifications

Reading list

Mitchell, R., Myles, F., & Marsden, E. (2013). Second language learning theories. Routledge, 3rd edition.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in [English]) and Dutch

Students other than MA Linguistics need permission from the coordinator of studies before enrolling.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.