SOAS University of London

Japan & Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Culture

Issues in the Study of Language Learning 1

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2017/2018
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2
Taught in:
Term 1


None. The module is optional for all first year BA Japanese (single and joint degree) students. It is also available to students joining Year 2 of the same degrees. It can be taken as an open option module by students on other language or linguistic degrees (finalist students can take this module if a special case is made by their UG tutor). Restrictions may apply depending on subscription.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The module aims at heightening the students’ awareness of the factors involved in the task of language learning, with a focus on psycholinguistic processes (the follow-up module Introduction to the Study of Language Learning II will focus on socio-cultural and affective aspects). This aim will be pursued in a two-fold manner. On one hand, the students will familiarize themselves with the main theoretical trends, basic terminology, and ideas in the field of second language acquisition. On the other hand, they will be encouraged to produce original observations of their own experience as learners of a foreign language in the shape of informed, principled accounts of the language learning task.


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week. Teaching includes lectures and student presentations

Scope and syllabus

The module syllabus is articulated around the following topics:

  • Learner factors: motivations (personal factors), attitudes/beliefs, aptitude, age.
  • Linguistic factors: levels of linguistic analysis, levels of knowledge and skills.
  • Views of language and views of language learning: methods and approaches.
  • Acquisition studies: notion of ‘interlanguage’ and interlanguage pragmatics.
  • Language learning strategies, communication strategies.

Each block will be covered by more than one weekly lecture depending on the nature of the particular topics and the problems and observations emerging from the discussion.

Method of assessment

One essay of 1,500 words to be submitted on day 1 after reading week, term 1 (40%); one essay of 1,500 words to be submitted on day 1, week 1, term 2 (40%); one oral presentation (recorded) in class during term (20%).

Suggested reading

Readings will be recommended from a number of different sources. Some basic references are listed below:

  • Brown, H.D. 2007. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, Prentice Hall Regents. 
  • Johnson, K. 2001. An introduction to foreign language learning and teaching, Harlow: Longman. 
  • Cook, Vivian, 2008. Second Language Learning and Language Teaching. 
  • Cook, Vivian, 2008. Portraits of the L2 user, Clevedon : Multilingual Matters.
  • Fromkin Victoria, 2007. An Introduction to language, London: Thomson/Wadsworth


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules