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Early Language Acquisition in Monolingual and Bilingual Contexts

General details of the subject

Face-to-face degree course

Description and contextualization of the subject

This course aims to bring students closer to the study of early language acquisition through their familiarization with current research oriented to the study of the language development of monolingual and bilingual children (0-10 years) in their first language(s).

Teaching staff

NameInstitutionCategoryDoctorTeaching profileAreaE-mail
EZEIZABARRENA SEGUROLA, MARIA JOSEUniversity of the Basque CountryProfesorado PlenoDoctorBilingualGeneral

Study types

TypeFace-to-face hoursNon face-to-face hoursTotal hours
Applied classroom-based groups5510

Training activities

NameHoursPercentage of classroom teaching
Exercises10.033 %
Expository presentation of the contents and discussion10.033 %
Individual work and/or group work45.00 %
Information presentation10.033 %

Assessment systems

NameMinimum weightingMaximum weighting
Essay, Individual work and/or group work0.0 % 50.0 %
Presentations0.0 % 30.0 %
Realización de prácticas (ejercicios, casos o problemas)0.0 % 20.0 %

Learning outcomes of the subject

During the course students will

• become aware of theoretical and empirical questions concerning the initial and later linguistic competence of children, as well as those related to the changes observed in children’s performance during their first years of life.

• learn to synthesize and expose significant findings of child language research conducted on vocabulary, phonology and morphosyntax, orally and in written texts.

• learn about the variability of bi- or multilingual acquisition processes and the factors affecting them (AoA, AoB, language profile, typological distance…).

Ordinary call: orientations and renunciation

The final mark will be the sum of three partial marks: active participation in class (20%), oral presentation (30%) and essay (50%).

Class sessions in this course of 3 ECTS credits will be organized as follows:

• Lectures on concepts and contents concerning the topics listed in the program will comprise most of the class time together, as well as some practical exercises. Written materials and/or references will be provided throughout the course.

• Attendance to class is obligatory and students will be penalized if absence is not properly justified. Regular assistance and active participation of the student will be crucial (20% of the final mark). Moreover, students are expected to participate in class and to meet the deadlines of the exercises set, among them (at least) one oral presentation (30% of the final mark) and one written one (50% of the mark).

• The oral task will consist of the presentation of the main content of a research paper, previously agreed with the teacher. In the 15-20 minutes presentation students will demonstrate:

The aim of the paper, some of the most relevant contents, including some examples, tables and/or figures, but only if necessary for comprehension, the dscussion and/or conclusion.

o Each student should provide his/her classmates with a 2- to 3-page hand-out of the presentation.

o Students will be requested to auto- and hetero-evaluate oral presentations.

• The written task will consist of a short essay of 6-10 pages, based on the discussion of some theoretical and/or methodological aspects of one of the papers presented in class compared with at least ONE additional piece of research published.

Extraordinary call: orientations and renunciation

Students will have to hand in a written paper (10-12 pages long) (100% of the final mark), similar to the assignments in the first call.



1. The study of child language • Methods used in the study of early child language. Some language-development models.

2. Early bi-/multilingualism.

3. Phonetic and Phonological Development.

4. Receptive and expressive Vocabulary.

5. Morphosyntactic Development.


Basic bibliography

Ambridge, B. & E. Lieven (2011), Child Language Acquisition. Contrasting Theoretical Approaches. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

De Houwer, A. (2009), Bilingual First Language Acquisition. Bristol-Buffalo-Toronto: Multilingual Matters.

De Houwer, A. (2021), Bilingual Development in Childhood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Grosjean, F. & P. Li (2013), The Psycholinguistics of Bilingualism. West Susssex, UK: Wiley & Blackwell.

Meisel, J. (2011), First and Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Montrul, S. (2013), El bilingüismo en el mundo hispanohablante. Malden, MA: Whiley-Blackwell.

Müller Gathercole, V.C. (ed.) (2013) Solutions of the Assessment of Bilinguals. Bristol-Buffalo-Toronto: Multilingual Matters.


Applied Psycholinguistics

Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

First Language

Infancia y Aprendizaje

International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism

Applied Psycholinguistics, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Brain and Language, Cognition, First Language, Infancia y Aprendizaje, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, International Journal of Bilingualism, Journal of Child Language, Language Acquisition, The Language Learning Journal, Lingua, Linguistische Berichte, Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, Probus, Second Language Acquisition.

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