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College of Arts & Sciences
Linguistics Program


Second Language Acquisition and TESOL

M.A. and Ph.D. Concentrations

Second language acquisition is the study of how people learn a second language (hereafter, L2) given the kind of exposure they have to it.  This field of study, then, encompasses both the cognitive processes which determine learning (traditionally thought of as SLA) and the pedagogical practices which effect and enhance that learning (traditionally thought of as ESL).  By nature, this field of study is interdisciplinary, since learning processes are understood especially, but not exclusively, via linguistic, sociolinguistic, and psycholinguistic perspectives, while classroom practices are informed by educational linguistic perspectives.

We welcome you to explore our concentration in Second Language Acquisition and TESOL. 

What kind of training do students receive?
Who are the SLA and TESOL faculty at USC?
What graduate courses have we recently offered? 
What dissertation projects have our students completed?
Where are some of our alumni?
Who are some of our other faculty interested in these areas?
What related graduate courses do we list in the Bulletin?


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What kind of training do students receive?

The Linguistics Program at the University of South Carolina offers the following degrees:

  • TESOL certificate of graduate studies
  • M.A. with a concentration in Second Language Acquisition and TESOL
  • Ph.D. with a concentration in Second Language Acquisition and TESOL

Our faculty members who teach in the SLA and TESOL concentration are extremely diverse in their training and theoretical perspectives. They explore a wide array of issues, from pedagogical theories that assist language teachers to linguistic theories that account for the acquisition process. Their methods are equally inclusive and cover the broad array of qualitative and quantitative research in second and foreign language acquisition.

Our students are trained in an interdisciplinary curriculum that includes formal linguistics, a primary area of study, and a broad range of linguistic subfields covered by our sixteen-person Linguistics Program faculty. The students in the SLA and TESOL concentration are trained in an unusually comprehensive set of methodological approaches: corpus studies, psycholinguistic approaches, classroom-based research, computer-mediated teaching and research, among others. In addition to the core classes, students have ample freedom to tailor their L2 curriculum to their own needs and interests, focusing either on understanding how students learn or on how best to teach, or a combination of the two.  The program of study culminates in the writing of a thesis or dissertation on a topic of the student's choosing.  


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Who are the SLA and TESOL faculty at USC?

A range of core and affliated faculty members have taught courses related to Second Language Acquisition and TESOL. (See table below for a complete list of faculty with interests in this concentration.) The following faculty members most regularly teach courses in these areas.

  • D. Eric Holt (PhD in Hispanic Linguistics, Georgetown University) Hispanic linguistics, history and dialects of Spanish and Portuguese, second language Spanish pronunciation, phonology, Optimality Theory
  • Qiandi Liu (PhD in Applied Linguistics and TESL, Northern Arizona University) ESL writing, grammar and pedagogy, SLA
  • Paul Malovrh (PhD in Spanish Linguistics, Indiana University) SLA, development of form-function mapping, L2 psycholinguistic processing, word-recognition in L2 reading; task-induced variation in L2 production, development of L2 comprehension / production interface
  • Nina Moreno (PhD in Spanish Linguistics, Georgetown University) Second Language Acquisition, Spanish Applied Linguistics, and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL)
  • Alexandra Rowe (PhD in English, University of South Carolina) L2 writing, ESL program administration
  • Mila Tasseva-Kurktchieva (PhD in Linguistics, University of South Carolina) SLA theories, generative SLA, L2 processing, comprehension and production in L2, syntactic theory, linguistic theory
  • Sherry Warren (PhD in Linguistics, University of South Carolina) L2 writing, ESL program administration, English for Academic Purposes, psycholinguistics, SLA and teaching

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What graduate courses have we recently offered?

Introduction to Language Development
Survey of SLA
Research Methods in SLA
Principles of Instructed SLA
Principles and Strategies of TESOL
Teaching Reading and Writing
Practicum in TESOL
Seminar in SLA: L2 Input Processing
The Acquisition and Teaching of L2 Phonology
Seminar in TESOL: Applications of SLA Theory to the Practice of Teaching
Seminar in SLA: Bilingualism


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What dissertation projects have our students completed?


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Where are some of our alumni?

Students graduating from our M.A. Program with a specialization in L2 studies have obtained jobs teaching either English as a second language or foreign languages to speakers of English in public and private schools, both here in the United States and abroad.  Our doctoral graduates have mainly gone to academic positions in second language acquisition.

  • Elena Schmitt (PhD, 2001), Professor of TESOL and Foreign Language Certification, Department Chair, Department of World Languages and Literatures, Southern Connecticut State University
  • Larry LaFond (PhD, 2001), Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
  • Matthew Ciscel (PhD, 2002), Professor, Department of English, Central Connecticut State University
  • Marc Canner (PhD, 2013), Executive Director, Institute of Strategic Languages & Cultures 
  • Anna Mikhaylova (PhD, 2012), Assistant Professor of Second Language Teaching and Acquisition, Linguistics Department, University of Oregon
  • Wei Cheng (PhD, 2016), Assistant Professor, Jinan University in Guangzhou

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All faculty interested in Second Language Acquisition and TESOL

D. Eric Holt

Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Spanish) 
Ph.D., Georgetown University, 1997

Spanish linguisitcs; acquisition of phonology.

Qiandi Liu

Assistant Professor (English)

Ph.D., Northern Arizona University, 2016

Second Language Acquisition, ESL Writing, Grammar Pedagogy

Paul Malovrh

Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Spanish)

Ph.D., Indiana University, 2008

Second-language acquisition, the interlanguage development of form-function mapping, psycholinguistic processing strategies, word-recognition in L2 reading; task-induced variation in second-language production, and development of L2 comprehension / production interface. 

Nina Moreno

 

Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Spanish)
Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2007

Second Language Acquisition, Spanish Applied Linguistics, and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL)  

Alexandra Rowe

Instructor, Director Emeritus, English Programs for Internationals

Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1990 

L2 writing, EPI administration. 

Mila Tasseva-Kurktchieva

Program Director

Research Associate Professor (Linguistics)
Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 2006 

Second language acquisition, syntactic theory

Junko Baba

(Consulting Faculty)

Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Japanese)
Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 1996 

Sociolinguistics, pragmatics, applied linguistics, Japanese

Lara Ducate

(Consulting Faculty)

Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; German)
Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 2003 

Sociocultural Theory, discourse analysis, computer-mediated communication, Mikhail Bakhtin.

Lara Lomicka

(Consulting Faculty)

Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; French & Classics) 

Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 2001 

CALL (computer –assisted language learning), intercultural learning and teaching, telecollaborative learning environments, and teacher education.

Susi Long

(Consulting Faculty)

Associate Professor (Instruction and Education)
Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1995 

(a) Collaboration with teacher researchers to explore home and community language and literacies; issues of culture, race, and language; and consideration of findings as they relate to transformation in schools and society, and (b) the experiences of new teachers as they negotiate within and beyond the status quo.

Sherry Warren

(Consulting Faculty)

Academic Director, USC International Accelerator Program, Ph.D. University of South Carolina

L2 writing, ESL program administration, English for Academic Purposes, psycholinguistics, SLA and teaching

 


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Graduate Courses in Second Language Acquisition and TESOL listed in the Bulletin

LING 772 - Technology in Foreign Language Education
Credits: 3 
Introduction to technology in language teaching and the connection between language acquisition and the application of Internet and multimedia technologies.

Equivalent Course FORL 772

LING 790 - Second Language Acquisition

Credits: 3 
Study of current theory and research in second language acquisition and exploration of relationships between such work and classroom second language learning and teaching. Examination of research techniques used in applied linguistics.

Corequisite Prereq or coreq: LING 600
Prerequisites Prereq or coreq: LING 600

LING 791 - Theory and Methodology in Second Language Acquisition

Credits: 3 
Current issues and research in adult second language acquisition, with special attention to developments in theory and to methodological issues and considerations.

Prerequisites LING 600, 790

LING 792: Second Language Acquisition & Foreign Language Teaching

Credits: 3 

Explores the historical development and up-to-date findings in foreign/second language learning research and applies

that knowledge to classroom teaching methods. Students will be expected to conduct an empirical investigation of variables of language learning and consider their implications on pedagogy.

LING 795 - Principles and Strategies for Teaching ESOL

Credits: 3 
Survey of teaching ESOL, including theoretical principles and practical strategies for approaches, methods, techniques, and materials as they concern elementary, secondary, and postsecondary learners.

LING 796 - Teaching Reading and Writing to ESOL Learners: Theory and Practice

Credits: 3 
This course surveys research on the mental processes and linguistic contexts involved in reading and writing in a second language. Pedagogical implications for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary learners are discussed.

Equivalent Course EDRD 796

LING 798 - Practicum in Teaching ESOL

Credits: 3 
Observation and supervised teaching of English to speakers of other languages in an individually designed classroom setting.

Prerequisites LING 600, 795

May not be taken by M.A. or Ph.D. students as part of their required courses.

LING 890 - Seminar in Language Acquisition

Credits: 3 
Special topics in the acquisition of language such as first language acquisition of English or other languages, cross-linguistic effects on acquisition, or issues in acquisition theory.

Prerequisites consent of instructor

LING 891 - Seminar in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

Credits: 3 
Special topics in teaching English to speakers of other languages (ESOL), such as materials design, program design and evaluation, or teaching a particular language skill.

Prerequisites consent of instructor

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