LING 430/530: Topics in Linguistics: Multilingualism (Fall 2013)

M 4:30-7:10
EW 308

Course website:

Recent Announcements (more)

Hi folks

A number of people have emailed me regarding the discussion questions.  Plz post them in the 'General discussion'.

(Fri Dec 13, 1:36 p.m.)
Hi folks

I have uploaded a reading to prepare you for Monday's discussion.  Tried to do this yesterday but apparently was not successful (thanks to those who have pointed this out to me).  Please let me know if you have any issues downloading the file: I will email it to you directly if need be.

(Fri Dec 06, 8:37 a.m.)
Hi folks

Reminder: the lecture originally scheduled for Mod, Nov 4 is happening today. Same time/place.

Dr. Lillo-Martin will not be arriving until 5, so unless you all have a reason to meet up to double-check that you do, in fact, have questions to ask her, there is no need to meet at 5. 

Instead: I will expect you all in Diloreto 001 by 5:40.  Make sure to take the front row.

(Mon Dec 02, 6:54 a.m.)


Elena 'Helen' Koulidobrova (Professor)

Office Hours: M/W 9-12; T/Tr 12-2 and by appointment in DiLoretto 208-012

I am available for both live and Skype appointments.

Course Description

What does it mean to know more than one language? In the world that is increasingly multilingual, this has become the norm. Yet, many educational materials are geared towards a decidedly monolingual audience. At the same time, the enterprise of an additional (second/foreign) language teaching implies introduction of another linguistic system into the mind of a learner. Implicit in this enterprise are assumptions about the status of the bilingual mind and how it copes with more than one 'grammar.'  We will explore the nature of such a mind from both theoretical and applied perspectives, focusing on how multiple languages share the space in one brain.  We will examine contributions from both linguistics and psychology, as well as the implications of these contributions to education.

The students will demonstrate...

  • Basic understanding of linguistic, psychological and psycholinguistic methods commonly used in multilingualism studies
  • Basic knowledge of the psycholinguistic processes affecting the multilingual individual 
  • An ability to apply basic knowledge of multilingualism theories to direct educational contexts (i.e. evaluation of instructional  methodologies and materials)
  • Books


    book cover


    book cover

    Additional Readings

    de Jong (2011) is primarily for the grad (530) students. However, if you are an undergrad (430) but are considering education as a field of study, I recommend you take a look at the book as well.

    Additional articles will be posted.

    Course Details and Policies

    1. It is most certain that the website will change to some degree; it remains under construction at the moment. This is true for various reasons, one of which is that I tend to leave the choice of chapters to the students; the other reason is that I will be uploading (and expect you to be reading) various very recent articles as we go (see the schedule below) as well as specific instructions for papers. It is your responsibility to check the course website weekly.  My recommendation: do it on Thursday (after 5 pm) -- the day I typically update it. This suffices for now.  Additionally, you should 'Subscribe' to the course: that way, any time a new announcement is posted, you will be notified via email automatically.



    2. Assessment:

    • 430:

    Participation + questions on the website (see A, C below): 30% 

    Presentation of a chapter (see B, C below): 30%

    Paper (see D, E below): 30%

    Guest Lecture participation (see G below): 10%

    • 530:

    Participation + questions on the website (see A, C, G below): 30% 

    Presentation of a chapter (see B, C below): 25%

    Paper 1 (see D, E below): 15%

    Paper 2 (see F below): 30

    • Note: any student enrolled in 430 is welcome to work towards the requirements for 530.  In fact, if you are considering graduate school, taking the F2 route (above) may be a good idea.

    3. Much of this course will be conducted in the form of a seminar.  This means that most of the time, the students are responsible for the direction the discussion is going as well as for the existence of the discussion itself.  I realize that this format is often foreign to undergraduates (430).  Do not worry: this is not as bad as it sounds but does mean that...


    A.   Your being present, prepared, and willing to participate is key to the overall success of the course. While I have no formal attendance policy, I expect you in class every time it meets.  Please make every effort to be in class by 4:30: late arrival breaks the flow of the discussion as well as various in-class activities.  We will meet for the entire duration of the class with a 10-15 min. break.(430/530)


    B.  Much of the material in the textbook as well as in the supporting article(s) will be presented by students, so if you are shy and don't want to talk, get over it now.  You will work in groups (to be assigned during the first day).  Each group needs to have both 530 and 430 students; 530 students are expected to take the lead.  If you find that your group appears different here, please alert me. Each group will present one chapter from the textbook and facilitate the discussion that ensues. (430/530)


    C.  You are responsible for being prepared to discuss not only the material you are presenting but also the material you are not presenting.  To that end, each person in the class must submit (with his/her name) at least one question for every chapter s/he is not presenting.  Each question must have a reference to the relevant part of the textbook. For example: 'On p. 29, a study is cited that suggest that .... I am wondering if...or can you explain why ... ?'

    These questions help the presenters prepare, so please, have the questions up by Fri at 9 am at the latest (this gives presenters all of Fri and the weekend to ponder).  Presenters will bring the questions to class, and after [typically but not necessarily] the presentation , invite each person to ask his/her question.  I recommend that the presenters arrange the questions in an order that dovetails the presentation. This scenario normally facilitates a discussion and formally engages even those students who find it difficult to speak in public.   Note: at any point during the presentation, I will happily explain anything that remains unclear, especially regarding the technical matters (i.e. experimental methods, etc.).(430/530)

     Each undergraduate student will write up a summary/critique of the issues outlined in the textbook with respect to his/her own language learning experiences, due on the day of the final: 10-15 pgs, 1.5-spaced.  I recommend centering the discussion around the chapter the student had presented in a group, since the issue explicated there might be clearer.  Both individual learning experiences and individual studies (which may need to be looked up) must be discussed. My goal here: the student's being able to discuss his/her language-related experiences through the prism of the research s/he had read.

    Alternatively, the student may choose options E or F. below. (430)

    E. Each of the graduate students (530) in the group will choose one of the articles cited in the chapter s/he is presenting.  The full citation is on the back on the book (in the Reference section).  The student must find the article (through the CCSU library or other sources) and write a review of it (the guidelines for such a review are in the 'Documents' section of the website).  During the presentation, the student will explain the paper and show expose its relevance to the topic.  Critique is welcome.  The review is due on the day of the final; I strongly recommend, however, that the paper be written it up around the time of the presentation and just put aside to be turned in later -- this makes life a little less hectic at the end. (530)  


    F. Each graduate student is responsible for one additional paper/presentation.  There are two options:


    F1. A (written) discussion of the education application of 2 chapters in the text.  The guidelines for this are in the 'Documents'.  Essentially, what you need to do is summarize the issues/findings from any two chapters and discuss what this means for education in general and classroom teaching in particular.  You will need to design 3 class activities (detailed) which integrate the theory into praxis.  (530)  


    F2. Propose a research project that naturally arises from the data discussed in class (and in the text) but which has  not -- to your knowledge -- been done yet. Rationale? Methodology? Potential hypotheses?  The details are in the 'Documents.'  (530)  


    G. All students must attend the Guest Lecture on Nov. 4th.  I will supply 1-2 papers which will serve as a background for the talk.  Each group must prepare (in advance) at least 1 question for Dr. Lillo-Martin.  Undergrads should be leading the discussion here. Depending on the time we have, the questions may roll-over to the Q&A part of the talk itself. (430/530)


    4. Academic integrity:

     Please familiarize yourselves with the CCSU policy: and A gentle reminder: a case of unintentional plagiarism remains a case of plagiarism.

    5. Accommodations:

    Please contact me privately to discuss your specific needs if you believe you need course accommodations based on the impact of a disability, medical condition, or if you have emergency medical information to share.  I will need a copy of the accommodation letter from Student Disability Services in order to arrange your class accommodations.  Contact Student Disability Services, Willard Hall, 101-04 if you are not already registered with them. Student Disability Services maintains the confidential documentation of your disability and assists you in coordinating reasonable accommodations with your faculty.

    6. If, at any point during the course, an issue arises that requires an intervention, please do not hesitate to contact me immediately. Nothing will change until you speak up.

    Course Schedule

    Week Date Topic Readings Assignments Notes
    1 Mon Sep 02 No class: Labor Day   you need to have read the first chapter and the table of contents (ToC) in the event that your textbooks have not yet arrived, both the chapter and the ToC are in the 'Documents'
    2 Mon Sep 09 Overview. Decision on topics. Terminology. Context of discussion. Chapters to be assigned. CH 1    
    3 Mon Sep 16 Language acquisition and age effects: Questions of relevance.  CH 2   Additional reading to be uploaded
    4 Mon Sep 23 Group work day.  You are working on the chapter presentations today.  I am available for questions.       Yes, we are meeting in the classroom: my presence may be required.
    5 Mon Sep 30 The brain matters.  CH 8   Don't forget questions by Fri
    6 Mon Oct 07 Lexical representation. Memory.

    CH 3, Sampaio et al 2013
      Sampaio et al.  is in the 'Documents'
    7 Mon Oct 14 Comprehension processes. Recognition & Processing. CH 4, Hurtado et al. 2013
    Liz, Michael, Al'a Hurtado et al. is in the 'Documents'
    8 Mon Oct 21      
    9 Mon Oct 28 Helen's post-conference debriefing.
    Davidson et al. 2013
      Davidson et al. 2013.  You may have issues getting it from the 'Documents'.  Take a look at the info in the announcement and find the paper yourself.  Sorry, I have alerted the website owners that something seems to be going on.
    10 Mon Nov 04 Special day: time change/shift likely!!!
    Guest lecture by Dr. Lillo-Martin (UConn): Bimodal bilingualism.  The lecture is currently scheduled for 6 - 8 pm with a small reception to follow.  Dr. Lillo-Martin will be arriving at 4:00-4:30 and will be available for individual student appointments.  However, changes here remain possible. Watch the website.
        The class time shifts. You are required to stay for the entire lecture and Q&A.  More on this to come.
    11 Mon Nov 11
     Language control.
    CH 6 Dawn, Na Rae, Giovanna  
    12 Mon Nov 18      
    13 Mon Nov 25 Cognitive consequences. CH 7 Rachel, Caitlyn, Judah, Stephanie  
    14 Mon Dec 02 Dr. Lillo-Martin's lecture re-scheduled for this date
    15 Mon Dec 09 Guest lecture: Dr. Fuentes (CCSU, MLD)
    Bilingual Education.
    de Jong, ch.8
      The reading in the 'Documents'
    16 Mon Dec 16 Accents. 
    CH 5 Sani, Efthimia
    Fri Dec 20 Papers are due (via email) by 11:59 pm. Please put: 'Name_course-number_final' in the subject.  The papers are to be submitted in .pdf format. APA style.     Notice, i moved the paper deadline until after the semester is over.  This is to compensate for the couple of classes we lost.  Feel free to submit earlier.