SOAS University of London

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

Issues in the Study of Language Learning 2

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 particular emphasis on sociocultural 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 (socio)linguistics and 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.  

Reference will be made to fundamental notions of linguistic analysis; English, Japanese and other languages will be utilised as material for reflection.  The language learning task will not be presented as the acquisition of an independent technical skill, but as a slow but profound process of personal transformation. Competence in a target language will be understood as crucially involving awareness of intercultural issues.


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

Scope and syllabus

The module syllabus is articulated around the following topics:

  • Language and society
  • Language and gender
  • Language and ideology
  • Intercultural discourse
  • Linguistic politeness

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, week following reading week, term 2 (40%); one essay of 1,500 words to be submitted on day 1, term 3 (40%); one oral presentation (recorded) in class during the 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.
  • Lantolf, J. 2000. Sociocultural theory and second language learning, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  • Scollon Ron and Suzanne Wong Scollon 1994. Intercultural communication : a discourse approach. 
  • Blackwell, Spencer-Oatey, Helen 2000. Culturally speaking: managing rapport in talk across cultures, Continuum


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules