Spanish and Portuguese | Seminar: Second Language Acquisition
S716 | 28327 | K. Geeslin


Professor Kimberly Geeslin
email: kgeeslin


S716   Seminar: Second Language Acquisition

T 4:00P  6:30p/section# 28327/3 cr./BH 105

Topic: The Acquisition of Sociolinguistic Competence in a Study
Abroad Setting


Nearly every definition of communicative competence includes
sociolinguistic knowledge (i.e., the ability to vary language
appropriately according to speaker, hearer, situation and linguistic
context) among the basic skills needed to communicate effectively in
a second language. Still, little is known about how learners acquire
this knowledge. Recent research on the comparative gains achieved
through study abroad shows differing benefits and different levels
of achievement, depending on linguistic structure, learner
characteristics, characteristics of the study abroad setting and a
host of additional factors.  Despite this variability, however,
study abroad appears to hold promise as an environment in which
gains can be made in sociolinguistic knowledge of a second language.
This seminar will build on the knowledge of study abroad research
developed in S614 (fall 2010) and connect that foundation to the
issue of variable features of Spanish and their acquisition. Some of
the issues addressed in this course include definitions of
communicative competence and the pedagogical norm, the hypothesis
that there is a minimum proficiency level that must be attained
before gains are made during study abroad, contrasting gains across
contexts where input is variable as opposed to when input is more
categorical, and the role of individual and programmatic variables
(e.g., housing situation while abroad) in the SLA of Spanish in a
study abroad setting.

This course also has a highly practical component in that it is
designed to foster the development of research skills that can
transfer to future independent scholarship.  Students will
participate in the process of designing and refining elicitation
tasks, collecting data, analyzing a variety of types of data and
connecting findings to the existing literature as part of the
Indiana University Acquisition of Spanish through Study Abroad
Project.

Students who enroll in this course should have a background in both
second language acquisition and sociolinguistics (e.g., S515 and
S513 or equivalent).