Carnegie Mellon University

Graduate Courses in Applied Linguistics & Second Language Acquisition (ALSLA)

The courses listed below are offered as part of the Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics & Second Language Acquisition and the M.A. in Applied Linguistics & Second Language Acquisition.

82-783 Second Language Acquisition: Theories and Research

This course introduces students to the field of second language acquisition (SLA) in order to provide them with an understanding of the way in which second languages are learned and acquired. The course will survey various theories of second language acquisition (e.g., Innateness and Universal Grammar, Connectionism, Input/Output, sociocultural theory, emergentism), and their claims will be examined in the light of recent research findings. The course will also examine the impact of internal and external variables on second language acquisition and development. Some topics include: the role of learning environment for language acquisition, explanations for different success among second language learners, variations in second language use, and the effect of classroom instruction in second language acquisition.

 82-793 Teaching Methodologies for the Foreign Language Classroom

This course is intended to expose students to different language teaching methodologies. We will study the development and history of teaching approaches and methods, and examine the intersection of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) theories of language learning to approaches and methods. Students will also apply the content of this course by way of their classroom observations for the 82-893 Practicum I course. Students will leave this course more comfortable as language teachers and able to adapt and apply their knowledge to new teaching situations.

 82-795 Ideologies of Critical Language Awareness

Within the field of Critical Language Awareness (CLA), language is understood as a social practice and, as such, is inseparable from historical, political, moral, and other ideological variables. Awareness of the ideologies and contexts that shape languages--and the teaching and learning of languages--allows one to understand and respect learner experience, interact effectively with language learners, design relevant curricula and materials, and potentially disrupt inequities that confront language learners daily. This course will introduce students to scholarship and pedagogies commonly found in CLA as a foundation for their own teaching, tutoring, consulting, and interacting with language learners in a variety of contexts. Through an exploration of communication skills and strategies (productive and receptive language skills, pronunciation and accent modification, etc.), students will investigate multiple approaches to language learner support. Course presentations, readings, discussions, and assignments will require students to think critically about teaching and research practices, the values on which those activities are based, and ways to challenge and transform the biases inherent in them. Students will also reflect on and evaluate a variety of instructional, sociocultural, cognitive, and linguistic dimensions of language learning, focusing on how these dimensions are expressed and experienced differently across various spaces, identities, technologies, and learner abilities. The main purpose of the course experience is to equip students with the information and analytical skills to support the diverse needs of language learners they will encounter in their future work.

82-885 Introduction to Qualitative Methods

This course focuses on the theoretical and practical principles that guide qualitative inquiry in second language and multilingual contexts. The course provides students the opportunity to explore in depth data collection and analysis tools (e.g. interviews, participant observation, discourse analysis, narrative analysis, etc.). In addition, students reflect about the ethics and style in research reporting characteristic in this approach. The course is grounded on individual research projects conducted by students during the course of the semester.

82-888* Research Methods in SLA

The course introduces students to research methodology as it applies to language learning and language teaching. It provides an examination of different approaches currently used in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research ranging from experimental studies to survey investigations. The goal is to develop an ability to critically evaluate, design, and implement sound SLA research. 

82-888* Introduction to Linguistic Data Analysis Using R

This course provides a hands-on introduction to the fundamental aspects of statistical analysis of quantitative linguistic data using the open-source statistical environment R. Students will first understand how spoken and written language can be conceptualized as data, what this data looks like, and how to think about such data from a computational perspective. Students will also learn how to visualize and appropriately form specific research questions related to linguistic analysis, and how data and its presentation can be manipulated in unethical ways. Students will also examine how the same data set can tell different stories/outcomes depending on the analyses and presentation. In-class labs and homework will make use of corpus, psycholinguistic, and survey data from a variety of languages and methods. 

82-888* Qualitative Perspectives on Context, Instruction and Learning

This course asks two central questions: 1) How do we capture language learning outcomes that aren’t measurable quantitatively? and 2) How do we understand the relationship between context, instruction, and second language learning? To answer these questions, we will examine research and its practical applications from a variety of qualitative traditions (e.g., ethnography, discourse analysis, qualitative interviews, diary studies) that has been carried out in a wide range of contexts, including study abroad, technology-enhanced environments, and informal learning in the wild.

82-888* Second Language Acquisition and Technology

We will explore how technology can be used and researched in contexts of second language acquisition and teaching. Well investigate research, best pedagogical practices, and technological tools used in Computer-Assisted Language Learning. Students will learn how to conduct a review of a pedagogical tech tool or app (e.g., Chat GPT, Duolingo, Lingostar AI) and how to integrate it into a task-based or project-based lesson plan. In addition to teaching demos, students will engage in the creation of a research project proposal and/or literature review regarding a specific facet of technology-enhanced language teaching and learning.

82-888* Second Language Pragmatics

Pragmatics is broadly understood as the study of language use in social context. This course, therefore, addresses various topics in second language (L2) pragmatics, including theories in pragmatics learning, multilingual translanguaging in L2 pragmatics, research methods in L2 pragmatics, target areas of investigation, instruction and assessment, and learning contexts. Through critical examinations of the literature in these areas, students will develop an understanding of existing research paradigms in L2 pragmatics and future directions.

82-888* Second Language Speech

This course provides an overview of the fundamental questions, theories, methodologies, and findings of second language (L2) speech research. In this team-based, collaborative course, students will read published research to first understand how speakers perceive, process, and produce the sounds of an L2. Students will then work together to develop a testable hypothesis related to L2 speech. Students will collect pilot data, perform null hypothesis tests, and compare the results to previous findings. Throughout the course, students will gain experience in each step of the research process and have the opportunity to disseminate their findings to a larger audience. The course focuses on both theoretical frameworks of human language and cognition, as well as the ‘applied’ function of speech research as it relates to effective foreign language teaching. 

82-888* Interaction and L2 Development


* Titles, sections and offerings for 82-888 change regularly. See the schedule of classes for current information.