Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


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?

Availability2022 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe the basic concepts and the significance of research in this field of knowledge.

2. Identify the critical issues in this field of knowledge.

3. Compare and discuss different cognitive, social, psychological and pedagogical dimensions of bilingualism.

4. Summarise different competing theories and research methods of bilingualism.

5. Apply 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.


This course replaces LING3400. If you have successfully completed LING3400 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

LING1110 or LING1111

Assessment items

Essay: Essay (40%)

Quiz: Four multiple-choice quizzes (60%)

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.