updated: September 1, 2003

English 232: Second Language Acquisition Graham Thurgood
MWF 11:00-11:50, 2:00-2:50TALR 210; M 7-9:50 Office: Building D 110
Office phone: 898-5450 Office hours: MWF 1:00-5:00; TR 10-11
email: gthurgood@csuchico.edu      & by arrangement

Course Description pdf

ENGL 232 Theory and Practice of Second Language Acquisition. 3.0. Prerequisite: ENGL 121. Introduction to major issues in second language acquisition and teaching. Includes 3.0 hours field experience with second language learner(s).

Required materials:

Packet of materials: Available from the Bookstore. (and online)

Requirements and grading:

  1. Observation of your student(s). (2 x 50 = 100 points). See section on SLA Lab Reports (Sample.pdf, SLA_1b). Failure to submit the 50 word data sheet for the first SLA lab report on time will result in an F in the class. There will also one twenty-point transcription quiz, designed to insure that students learn to transcribe early in the semester (or drop the class). (20 points) Conversation partner.
  2. Tests. There will be two in-class mid-terms and an in-class final (100 points each). Note that some of the material will come from the reading and will not necessarily be covered in class.
  3. Attendance. In a once-a-week or twice-a-week classes, for each absence 5 points are lost. In a once a week class, 10 points are lost. Those who leave at the break during a once-a-week class are counted as absent. Note: By absent, I do not mean absent unless you have a good excuse; absent is, quite simply, absent.
  4. Grades: 90% of the total possible is an A, 80% is a B, and so on.


Late work: Late work will not be accepted for any reason unless you discuss it with me before the assignment is due (and, I agree in advance to accept the work late).

Cheating: Students caught cheating or plagiarizing will not be warned. Instead, they will be given a failing grade for the semester.

Disabilities: Any student in this class who has a disability of any kind that might prevent the fullest expression of his or her abilities should contact me the first week of class so that we can discuss class requirements.

Religious holidays: Any student who foresees conflicts with assignments in the course because of religious holidays should discuss it with me the first week of class


English 232 Syllabus: Schedule pdf

The focus of this class is, as the catalogue description notes, on the issues surrounding second language acquisition and teaching, that is, on the theory and the practice. This class will take a critical look at both, continually attempting to relate the two while separating the wheat from the chaff. Various general topics will form the initial focus of each class session, with the notions then connected, where possible, to specific classroom materials and activities.

English 232 Syllabus: Content pdf

Note: Topics will not always be covered in the order given below, although a serious attempt will be made to follow this order.


Note: Various general topics will form the initial focus of each class session, but the intention is also to discuss and recycle various topics as they come up in the course of discussing how concepts relate to one another and to the materials presented for discussion.

* = Not in packet, that is, just for reference.

Conversation partners & Lab reports (1)

A shared experience:Elementary Amharic: (3)

Elementary Amharic is a fresh language learning experience as a starting point for our exploration of the theory and practice of second language learning. (Although it is of minor importance, the learning experience will be done using Gattegno's Silent Way. What is of importance is what we can learn from observing the techniques used, rather than the specifics of the method itself.)

1. Second language acquisition

1.1 And the sounds of English

Preparation for Lab Report #1, which involves phonetic transcription:

Phonology basic transcription pdf pdf pdf pdf Haas transcription

-- related to two transcription quizzes
-- the English spelling system and how it works
-- Contrastive Analysis: Hmong and English (packet)

1.2 Listening

Authentic listening activities.

1.3 Speaking (and Listening)

1.4 And the structures of English

First language acquisition.

Learning a first language

Milestones and patterns in development
Early childhood bilingualism

2. Second Language Acquisition research

2.1 Second language acquisition and TESOL

Theories: Behaviorism, innativism, interactionism (31)

Information processing

• James Cummins - defining language proficiency (35)

• Stephen Krashen - (40)


2.2 SL Developmental sequences

Negation (42)
Questions (42)
Practice sets (44)
Relative clauses (50)
Tenses (51)

2.3. Classroom research methodology

• Audiolingualism (56)

2.3 Structuralism > CA > CAH > Interlanguage

Overview lecture: contrastive analysis, error analysis, focus on form, and so on (57)

• Morphology
- inflectional versus derivational
- contrasts with several languages
- countables versus uncountables

• Culture (65, 66)

2.4 Classroom research and interaction


4. Psychological considerations: motivation, memory

4.1 Maturational constraints

Critical period hypothesis; sensitive period hypothesis
(see differential success, immediately below)

4.2 Differential success: Motivation and so on (68)

Research on learner characteristics
Motivation and attitude
Age of acquisition

4.3 Memory: storage adn retrieval

article containing most of the notes (71)

5. Pedagogical approaches to second language acquisition

5.1 Communicative approaches

• defining "communicative" in functional terms
• "Who am I?" (81)

5.2 Audiolingual approach

5.3 TPR

6. Error Correction

7. Reading: Schema theory

8. Vocabulary (111)

9. Writing and rhetorical structures

10. Grammar (Focus on form)

11. Critical thinking

12. Testing

Morrow on testing (151)