Courses

SLS 600 Introduction to Second Language Studies

SLS 650 Second Language Acquisition

SLS 660 Sociolinguistics and Second Languages

See generic course descriptions

 

SLS 675 Second Language Qualitative Research

The course will introduce students to the principles and practices of qualitative research and their application to research problems in second language learning, use, and education. An important consideration will be the metatheoretical positions that inform approaches to qualitative research and their interrelation with specific theories, articulation of research problems, and research methodology. The course pursues two aims: (1) to develop students’ ability to critically appraise reports of qualitative L2 research and (2) to prepare students to conduct a qualitative study on an applied linguistic topic.

 

SLS 678 Discourse Analysis in Second Language Research

This survey course will pursue three goals. 1. Based on a selection of texts, to foster participants’ critical understanding of discourse analysis as a central, interdisciplinary approach in the social sciences; of its diverse disciplinary origins, theoretical orientations, methodological options, and relationship to historical and current intellectual paradigms. 2. To provide participants with practical experience in conducting different forms of discourse analysis. 3. To explore discourse analysis as an approach to research problems in second language studies and related fields. For a letter grade, participants will conduct a study on a topic in second language use, learning, or education from a discourse-analytical perspective.

 

SLS 680E: Sociolinguistic Approaches to SLA

From early on, SLA has benefitted from sociolinguistic approaches (e.g., variability in interlanguage; early SLA as pidginization; the role of acculturation). During the past decade, theories emphasizing SLA as a situated activity in sociocultural contexts have made an inroad; specifically, language and discourse socialization theories, identity theory, and various discourse approaches. This course will examine how different sociolinguistic theories and research methods have been adopted to SLA and what they have contributed to our understanding of second and foreign language learning.

 

SLS 680E Pragmatic Development in a Second Language

This course examines theories, research methods, and substantive findings on second language learners’ pragmatic development. Themes to be explored will include the relationship of pragmatic and grammatical development, the role of different learning environments (such as study abroad), options and effects of instruction, individual differences, and the interrelation of social context, identity, and L2 pragmatic learning.

 

SLS 680E Conversation Analysis of Second Language Talk

The course has two objectives: (1) to introduce students to conversation analysis (CA) and (2) to explore CA’s potential as an approach to second language use and learning. (1) will be concerned with CA’s perspective on such central concepts as action, cognition, context, culture, language, and meaning, and with CA’s analytical principles and practices. (2) will examine CA’s treatment of social categories such as “native” and “nonnative” speaker, SLA notions such as negotiation of meaning, recast, & task, and opportunities for L2 learning in different kinds of activities. One central question to consider is how ‘L2 learning’ may be conceptualized and investigated from a CA perspective. Course requirements include reviews of CA studies on L2 talk, data sessions, and a research paper. Students are welcome to work with video or audio recorded L2 interactions collected prior to this course.

SLS 680E Language Socialization as an Approach to SLA

As one of many imports from other social sciences to SLA, Language Socialization (LS) has recently been touted as a ‘new paradigm’ for SLA. Whether or not this categorization is warranted is a matter of debate, but there can be little question that by integrating linguistic, cultural, and sociopolitical aspects of L2 learning in a dynamic interactional perspective, language socialization offers an insightful view on L2 learning processes, outcomes, and conditions.

The course will scrutinize research examining a diversity of themes in language socialization in a range of contexts, target languages, and populations, with particular attention to the adopted theoretical and methodological approaches.  Students will conduct a small language socialization study of their choice. As always, continuing work on pertinent research already under way is encouraged.

 

SLS 680R Self-Report Methods in Second Language Studies

Self-report methods such as interviews, questionnaires, verbal report, and diaries are part of SL researcher’s standard tool kit. All of them were developed elsewhere in the social sciences and adopted to study a large number of SL research issues. In order to assess their potential and limitations, it is important to understand the ‘theory of methodology’ built into different methods and their variants. Where a method has been used in different research traditions (interviews in surveys and various qualitative approaches, for instance), these different varieties will be considered. The course has the dual goal of cultivating a critical and reflexive stance towards research methods in SLS and to provide practical experience in using self-report methods. For their research papers, students will conduct a pilot study in which they deploy self-report methods appropriate to a research issue of their choice.

 

 SLS 680R Qualitative Interviews

Interviews have become the data collection method of choice for a range of topics and purposes in qualitative second language research, among them studies on the relationship between identity and language learning in multilingual societies conducted from poststructuralist and critical perspectives. Because interviews are a genre familiar from the media and other arenas of social life, they are often treated as unproblematic data sources in the applied linguistics literature. But as some qualitative researchers caution, interviews in the social sciences are overused, undertheorized, and underanalyzed. The overall goal of the course is to enable students to determine whether their research purpose is indeed best served by interviewing, and to offer training in developing, conducting, and analyzing qualitative interviews on applied linguistic topics. To this end, we will examine different theoretical perspectives on interviews and their implications for the analysis of interview data. Course requirements will include a critique of a published interview report and an interview study. For the study, students are welcome to work on pertinent research in progress.

 

 SLS 730 Seminar in Second Language Education: Pragmatics in Language Teaching

The seminar will explore different approaches to the instruction in, and assessment of, second/foreign language pragmatics, discourse, and sociolinguistics. It will cover observational studies on the opportunities for developing L2 pragmatic abilities in authentic classroom settings and interventional studies designed to examine the effectiveness of different teaching approaches. Studies on the testing on pragmatics will include a range of test constructs and methodologies, including web-based tests and oral proficiency interviews. The seminar will take an inclusive view of theories and research approaches, including socially grounded and psycholinguistic perspectives, as well as a range of qualitative and quantitative methods. For their research papers, students will either conduct a pilot study on the classroom learning or assessment of L2 pragmatics or continue an already ongoing study.

 

SLS 760  Seminar in Second Language Use: Interlanguage Pragmatics

The first part of the seminar will provide an overview of theories, issues, and research methods in interlanguage pragmatics. Topics will include approaches to the study of crosscultural and interlanguage pragmatics, pragmatic transfer and communicative effect, development of pragmatic ability, and classroom research on instruction in pragmatics. In the second part of the seminar, participants will work on data-based studies and present their research for discussion. Projects may either be a continuation or expansion of an interlanguage pragmatics study developed for another course or a new project.

 

SLS 750 Seminar in Second Language Learning: Conversation Analysis and L2 Learning

The seminar will examine the potential of conversation analysis (CA) as an approach to second language learning. For the most part, it will concern itself with the rapidly growing literature on the topic and the analysis of L2 data. We will begin with an introduction to CA’s conceptual premises, the structure of interaction, CA’s perspective on action, cognition, context, culture, language, and meaning, and CA’s analytical principles and practices. Particular focus will be given to CA’s conceptualization of, and analytical approach to, the object and process of L2 learning. Another critical theme will be whether CA can, should, or needs to be deployed in conjunction with compatible theories of learning and development, such a situated learning theory, sociocultural theory, or usage-based theories of language acquisition. Requirements will include reviews of CA studies on L2 talk, data sessions, and a research paper on the seminar topic. As always, students are welcome to work with video or audio recorded L2 interactions they have already collected and to continue their work on studies in progress.

 

SLS 750 Seminar in Second Language Learning:Conversation Analysis in Applied Linguistics: Advanced Topics

The seminar is designed for participants who are familiar with the conceptual and methodological principles and analytical practices of conversation analysis (CA), and who have substantial practice in the collection, transcription and analysis of interactional data. It pursues the following objectives.

1.  Revisit some classical ethnomethodological (EM) and CA texts and some recent updates to gain a more profound understanding of CA’s and EM’s projects, fundamental concepts, and their implications for research methodology.

2. Clarify CA’s stance, and its methodological consequences, on such key social science topics as action,  cognition, context, culture, emotion, identity, language, meaning, and power (note this is an open list), and examine how these topics have been treated analytically in L1 and L2 studies.

3. Engage with debates that are relevant for CA in applied linguistics/SLS but have not yet entered these fields, such as the relationships between EM, CA, membership categorization analysis (MCA) and discursive psychology (DP), the distinction between basic and applied CA, institutional talk as a research program, and the (im)possibility of critical or otherwise “motivated” CA.

4. Explore how CA can be applied to examine (language) learning and development and the role of extraneous theory in this project.

 

SLS 760 Seminar in Second Language Use: Misunderstanding Talk

Misunderstanding is not the doubtful privilege of less expert interlocutors but a regular occurrence in interactions between competent participants. Nevertheless, more limited access to communicative resources and sociocultural knowledge makes interaction more vulnerable to various kinds of trouble. This seminar explores different types of misunderstanding from a variety of theoretical perspectives and discusses several research approaches that have proven useful in the study of problematic talk. Participants will be required to conduct a small data-based study on the seminar topic.

 

SLS 760 Seminar in Second Language Use: Discourse and Identity

The seminar examines the relationship of language and identities from a range of theoretical and research methodological perspectives, with a particular view to the production and transformation of multilingual identities across activities and settings. After briefly reviewing the history of identity-related research in SLA and (in broad outlines) the social sciences more generally, we will consider some of the most prominent contemporary debates, with emphasis on empirical discursive approaches to identities. The seminar intends to enable students (a) to critically evaluate the research literature on language and identity in applied linguistics and other social sciences; (b) to conduct research on the topic that coherently translates the adopted theoretical position into method.

 

SLS 760 Seminar in Second Language Use: Cognition and Emotion in Interaction

In Western philosophy and science, cognition and emotion have traditionally been understood as mental phenomena located in individuals. The intrapsychological view dominates contemporary cognitive science and SLA, although alternative proposals are gaining ground.

The seminar examines cognition and emotion from a discursive perspective. Starting with the observation that “psychological” states and processes are on constant display in talk and other conduct in interaction, we will set aside the ontological question of what cognition and emotion “are”. Instead, we will examine how participants display and construct psychological objects (understanding, remembering and forgetting, epistemic and affective states and stances, attributions and inferences, agency and motivation) as socially constituted, occasioned through talk, and deployed for practical purposes. In particular, we will in examine how cognition and emotion talk does rhetorical and categorial work in social actions, story telling, and constructing identities in ordinary conversation and institutional settings.

Participants will read key texts in ethnomethodology, conversation analysis, and discursive psychology that approach cognition and emotion in talk as participant concerns and empirically available objects for analysis. Based on this foundation, we will review how cognition has been addressed in the fast growing conversation-analytic literature on L2 interaction and learning. The section on emotion will start from recent work on emotion in the discourse of multilingual speakers (e.g., Pavlenko, 2005). Because the published literature on emotion talk in L2 interaction is limited, one goal of the seminar is to develop a research agenda on this topic, based on records of L2 interaction.

 

SLS 760 Seminar in Second Language Use: Talking Gender and Sexuality

Poststructuralist theories emphasize that gender and sexuality are properly seen as things social members do rather than what they are or have. Yet while the idea of gender and sexuality as performance (Butler, Langman, Pavlenko) has gained wide currency, how to investigate their discursive construction in an empirically rigorous fashion remains unsolved in poststructuralist feminism. The project of feminist conversation analysis (CA) is to plug the gap between feminist agendas and the accountable study of gender, ideology, discrimination, and heteronormativity on the ground, in mundane, everyday social interaction. The seminar will examine different approaches to align feminist interests with CA’s analytical policies and seeks to expand current feminist CA research to analyses of gender and sexuality in multilingual talk-in-interaction. Requirements include extensive readings, data sessions, and a student-lead class session.

 

760 Seminar in Second Language Use: Categorization and Epistemics in (Inter)Action

The seminar will be concerned with two current research directions in conversation analysis, both of which examine the roles of practical knowledge in interaction. Building on Sacks’s early descriptions of participants’ methods for producing social and cultural knowledge in action, recent work has shown up further operations of category work in talk (Bilmes, 2011; Hester & Hester, 2012) and proposed to align categorization analysis with the objectives and methods of sequential CA (Stokoe, 2012).Stokoe’s proposal has renewed a longstanding controversy between ethnomethodology and CA about CA’s project to demonstrate generic orders of interaction through collection-based analysis. Partially intersecting with the categorization of personal and impersonal objects, social epistemics refers to the ways in which participants manage knowledge in their talk, their relative rights to know, and consequently their entitlements to description and evaluation. Although participants’ management of knowledge was a very early concern in CA, the current research program on social epistemics began with two recent articles by Heritage and Raymond, showing how epistemic primacy and subordination are implicated in the construction of social identities and relationships. Stivers, Mondada and Steensig’s edited volume on TheMorality of Knowledge in Conversation (2011) offers crosslinguistic evidence that participants’ local management of knowledge, and especially of epistemic asymmetries, has a far more powerful and pervasive role in interaction than previously thought. Heritage (2012a, b) sums up his proposal on epistemics in action and proposes the metaphor of “epistemic engine” to describe how knowledge asymmetries propel interactional sequences forward.

The seminar pursues three goals: (a) to update ourselves on current debates on categorization and social epistemics, (b) to examine the uptake that both lines of research have had in the literature on multilingual talk, and (c) to explore further topics for the study of categorization and social epistemics in multilingual ordinary conversation and institutional talk, including learning and development.

 

SLS 775 Seminar in Second Language Qualitative Research: Doctoral Seminar in Conversation Analysis 

The seminar will serve as an interdisciplinary forum for PhD and AGC students working on their dissertation, dissertation proposal, or publications from the perspectives of ethnomethodology, conversation analysis, membership categorization analysis, or discursive psychology, either as the sole approach(es) or in conjunction with other research traditions, such as ethnography, quantitative methodologies, narrative analysis, and discourse studies more broadly. Topics will be participant-generated and coordinated by the instructor. Each topic will be addressed on the basis of relevant literature, a preliminary analysis prepared by the presenter, and a data session.

Seminar participants will have advanced expertise in conversation analysis. Interested MA students who meet this requirement may obtain consent.

 

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