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Bilingual Acquisition


Admission requirements

To be able to enter this MA course you need a basic knowledge of phonology and syntax.


In this course we will explore the linguistic and psychological aspects of first and second language acquisition (SLA) during childhood. Moreover, we will look at a wide range of issues central to the understanding of the complex nature of the bilingual mind. We will compare the language input of monolingual and bilingual language learners and investigates how the monolingual and the multi-language user represent and process linguistic information.
We focus in particular on heritage languages and language users in the EU. Heritage speakers are exposed to the heritage language during the so-called “sensitive periods” of acquisition in some linguistic areas or domains. For heritage language users, the length, manner and amount of exposure to the home language may not be continual and this fact has consequences for the linguistic system.
A selection of key articles on the study of bilingualism in general and on the study of heritage language acquisition and maintenance in particular will be discussed. As part of the course, each student will have to formulate his or her own research question, formulate relevant hypotheses and design a small experiment that – time permitting – could be conducted with real speakers.

Course objectives

To learn to read and interpret the relevant literature;
To understand the most relevant theories;
To learn to collect and process empirical data on early language acquisition;
To write critically on your own and other people’s research.


The timetable is available on the MA Linguistics website

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Lectures: 26 hours
Study of compulsory literature: 114 hours
Preparation in-class activities/assignments: 26 hours
Assignments (including take-home exam): 114 hours
Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours=280 hours

Assessment method


  • Oral presentations 30%

  • Course Paper 30%

  • Take home examination 40%


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


students who fail the course may resit the exam and/or course paper.

Inspection and feedback

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.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • course documents

  • assignments

  • announcements

Reading list

During the first part of the course students read an article before class each week. For the second part of the course, students prepare an oral group presentation based on three relevant articles or book chapters.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Please contact Student administration van Eyckhof for questions.

The coordinator of studies is Else van Dijk