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David Birdsong, Chair 201 W 21ST STREET STOP B7600, HRH 2.114A, AUSTIN, TX 78712 • 512-471-5531

Spring 2007

FR 392K • The End State In Second Language Acquisition

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
36410 W
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
HRH 2.106C

Course Description

The study of the end state or asymptote in second language acquisition (L2A) provides a unique perspective on the upper limits of L2 attainment. In addition, end-state data represent potentially decisive evidence on the possibility that a critical period constrains learning, while informing various cognitive, neurological, and linguistic models of learner outcomes in L2A. In this course we will look at the L2A asymptote from a variety of perspectives, including historical (the sources of the conventional wisdom that failure to attain nativelikeness in late L2A is inevitable); behavioral (experimental studies relating to end-state pronunciation, syntax, and morphology); and neurological (imaging and electrophysiological evidence from late and early bilinguals). Topics include: models of non-nativelike grammars; operationalizing the final state; fossilization; age effects versus critical period effects; the incidence of nativelike attainment; initial state, end state, and Universal Grammar; asymmetries and dissociations at the asymptote; and cortical function in late bilingualism.

Grading Policy

Grade based on:
In class presentation
take-home exercises
final project or paper


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