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ET117: Foreign Language Learning


What does it mean to 'know' a language, and to communicate in one? How do people learn a second language? What is the best way for you? And what are some of the global realities surrounding language use in the world today? These are the main issues to be addressed in this module. In this module, you will both engage you in learning a major language in the university's cutting-edge Language Centre and at the same time develop your ability to learn any language into the future. Which of these languages will you start with: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian or Spanish? All of them are on offer. While you're encouraged to begin a new language you can continue with one you already know if you prefer.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Communicate effectively at a basic level in everyday situations for a work or study placement. The language learning component of the module contributes specifically to the following key overall learning outcome of the programme
  • Demonstrate sensitivity and effectiveness in using language in intercultural contexts.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of some key issues, theories and research findings relating to foreign language learning.
  • Reflect self-critically on the process of learning a foreign language.
  • Plan, monitor and evaluate in ways appropriate to her/himself the learning of a new foreign language.
  • Apply linguistic concepts and tools acquired via the core Linguistics module (specifically, insights into phonetics, phonology, syntax and lexicogrammar) to the practical study of a new language.

Learning Experience


Core content will be presented during weekly 2-hour lectures.


We will meet in a weekly 1-hour small-group seminar to practice and apply course concepts.



2000 word assignment


2-hour written examination (50%)

Preparatory Reading

  • Toffoli, D. (2020) Informal learning and institution-wide language provision: University language learners in the 21st century. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Especially Chapter 8: ‘A Portrait of Contemporary Language Learners in Higher Education’

Academic Staff

Prof. Tony Liddicoat