autumn 2017

ENG-3040 First Language Acquisition - 10 ECTS

Sist endret: 20.02.2018

The course is provided by

Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education


Tromsø |

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Application code 9317 (Nordic applicants).

Type of course

This course may be taken as a single course by students who meet the admission requirements for the MA programme in English Language/Linguistics.

Course content

This course will look at typical first language acquisition in monolingual and simultaneous bilingual children. The main focus will be morphosyntax, in English and in a range of other languages, but attention will be paid at different factors that play a role in language development, such as input, pragmatics, general cognitive and processing abilities. The first half of the course will be on monolingual language acquisition, while the second half will focus on bilingual first language acquisition.

Objectives of the course

The students have the following learning outcomes:


The student has:

  • knowledge of typical language development (with a focus on morphology and syntax) in mono and bilingual children and be familiar with the main theories of language acquisition and recent interdisciplinary findings.  


The student is able to / can:

  •   work with and analyze linguistic data from both corpora and experimental research.
  • The course will also help students develop their skills in oral presentation and argumentation, as well as their ability to cooperate with fellow students and carry out independent project work.

Language of instruction

Language of instruction and examination is English.

Teaching methods

Lectures, exercises, seminars, and project work.

Quality assurance:

All courses will be evaluated once during the period of the study program. The board of the program decides which courses will be evaluated by students and teacher each year.  


The following coursework requirements must be completed and approved in order to take the final exam: 

Coursework requirement: One oral presentation

Assessment method: The course will have a final term paper of 12-15 pages in Wiseflow.

All written work is based on the following standard: Times New Roman, 12, 1,5, 2,5 cm.

Performance in the course will be assessed on an A-F grades scale. Grades are A-E for passed and F for failed. A re-sit examination is offered in the event of an F grade. The deadline to register for a re-sit examination is January 15th for the autumn semester and August 15th for the spring semester.

Date for examination

A term paper hand in date 11.12.2017

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced in the StudentWeb early in May and early in November.


Course overlap

HIF-3040 First Language Acquisition 10 stp

Recommended reading/syllabus

Compendium ENG-3040 First Language Acquisition, Autumn 2017

1. Guasti, Maria Theresa. 2002. Language Acquisition: The Growth of Grammar. MIT Press. Chapters 1 and 4 [70 pages]

2. Pinker. Steven. 1994. Chatterboxes, 25-54, 30 pages (same as in Compendium ENG-3040 Spring 2017)

3. Hyams, Nina. 2011. Missing Subjects in Early Child Language, in de Villiers & Roeper (eds.) Handbook of Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition, 13-52, 40 pages. (same as in Compendium ENG-3040 Spring 2017)

4. Bialystok, Ellen. 2009. Bilingualism: the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Bilingualism: Language and cognition 12 (1), 3-11, 9 pages. (same as in Compendium ENG-3040 Spring 2017)

5. Unsworth, Sharon. 2013. Current Issues in Multilingual First Language Acquisition, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 33, 21-50, 31 pages. (same as in Compendium ENG-3040 Spring 2017)

6. Tomblin, J. Bruce. 2009. Children with specific language impairment, in Bavin (ed.) The Cambridge Handbook of Child Language, chapter 23, 418-431, 14 pages. (same as in Compendium ENG-3040 Spring 2017)

7. Leonard, Laurence B. 2009. Language symptoms and their possible sources in specific language impairment, in Bavin (ed.) The Cambridge Handbook of Child Language, chapter 24, 433-446, 14 pages. (same as in Compendium ENG-3040 Spring 2017)

8. Ambridge Ben and Caroline F. Rowland. 2013. Experimental methods in studying child language acquisition. WIREs Cogn Sci 2013, 4:149¿168. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1215, 19 pages (same as in Compendium ENG-3040 Spring 2017)

9. Rodina, Y. & M. Westergaard. 2015. Grammatical gender in bilingual Norwegian-Russian acquisition: The role of input and transparency. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. DOI:10.1017/S1366728915000668. 18 pages (same as in Compendium ENG-3040 Spring 2017)

10. Rodina, Y. & M. Westergaard. 2015. `Grammatical gender in Norwegian: Language acquisition and language change.¿ Journal of Germanic Linguistics 27, 145-187. 42 pages (same as in Compendium ENG-3040 Spring 2017)

Additional readings will be announced in connection with two guest lectures.


Yulia Rodina

Førsteamanuensis engelsk språkvitenskap/lingvistikk