Issues of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education


The course constitutes a general introduction to the topic. Bilingualism can broadly be described as having the knowledge of, and the ability to use, two languages. The course offers an overview of a wide range of important dimensions of bilingualism, incl. conceptual, cognitive, psychological, social, pedagogical, etc. A number of critical issues are considered, such as:

What constitutes knowledge of two (or more) languages?

How is such knowledge acquired and used?

How does bilingual knowledge affect the bilingual speaker's general cognitive capacity?

How does bilingual knowledge affect the bilingual speaker's social identity?

From a pedagogical perspective, what are the most effective methods of attaining bilingual knowledge?



  • Semester 2 - 2015

Learning Outcomes

1. An understanding of the basic concepts in this field of knowledge

2. An understanding of the critical issues in this field of knowledge

3. An understanding of the different cognitive, social, psychological and pedagogical dimensions of bilingualism

4. An understanding of different competing theories of bilingualism

5. Advanced research and general information literacy skills


Bilingualism: basic issues (definitions, descriptions, typology, theoretical and methodological considerations).
Linguistic aspects of bilingualism: principal components of linguistic competence (phonological, morphological, syntactic, lexical, pragmatic).
Psycholinguistic aspects of bilingualism: (first/second) language acquisition; (first/second) language attrition.
Psychological aspects of bilingualism: models of bilingual production and perception.
Socio-linguistic aspects of bilingualism: issues of identity, class, politics, ethnicity, race, etc.
Cognitive aspects of bilingualism: consequences of the knowledge of two (or more) languages for general cognitive ability.
Neurolinguistic aspects of bilingualism: issues of brain localization, lateralization, maturation (the latter with reference to the Critical Period hypothesis)
Educational aspects of bilingualism: relationship between bilingualism and literacy; educational policies.

Replacing Course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): LING3400. Students who have successfully completed LING3400 are not eligible to enrol in LING2502.

Assumed Knowledge

LING1110/1001 or LING1120

Assessment Items

Essay: Essay

Quiz: Four multiple-choice quizzes

Contact Hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 13 Weeks