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Module QXL-4416:
Language Disorders &Bilinguals

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Eirini Sanoudaki

Overall aims and purpose

This module introduces students to developmental and acquired speech and language disorders in monolingual as well as bilingual populations. By examining developmental disorders in children, such as children with Specific Language Impairment or children with Autistic Spectrum disorders, various language domains are explored, such as phonological, grammatical, semantic and pragmatic disorders. By examining acquired disorders in adults, such as adults with Aphasia, we look at neurolinguistics, i.e. the study of the breakdown of cognitive and linguistic abilities. We also explore issues related to language assessment and diagnosis in bilinguals.

• To develop students’ understanding of developmental and acquired language disorders in monolingual and bilingual populations to an advanced level.
• To enhance students’ critical appreciation of the various theoretical models proposed for language impaired children and adult and of how they interact with theories of typical language acquisition and theories of bilingualism.
• To develop students’ awareness of the implications of the findings from research on language impairment for linguistic theory.
• To equip students with knowledge of the research techniques used within this domain of research to level where they can use and implement those techniques in their own research.

Course content

Topics may vary from year to year, but will be drawn from:
1. Introduction to language impairment and bilingualism
2. Investigating language development and impairment in bilingual populations
3. Language in bilingual individuals with Down syndrome
4. Language and autism
5. Specific Language Impairment
6. Dyslexia
7. Acquired language disorders – Neurolinguistics

Assessment Criteria


The answer must address the question.
The answer must show a basic knowledge and understanding of the relevant key areas and principles of the foundational theories, constructs and methodologies of Linguistics.
The answers shows only basic ability in the learning outcomes.
The student must show evidence of being able to apply the principles to the analysis of language and linguistic examples and/or data.
The answer must show evidence of some background study.


The answer must be highly focused and well-structured, free from irrelevant material and errors of spelling and punctuation. The answer must show comprehensive knowledge and detailed understanding, and demonstrate the ability to apply concepts clearly, accurately and in depth. The answer must show advanced ability in all of the learning outcomes.
The answer must show substantial evidence of original interpretation and critical thinking, and the ability to make new links between topics and/or a new approach to a problem.
The answer must show evidence of extensive background study beyond basic texts and using primary sources.


The answer must be focussed and structured.
The answer must show a better-than-average standard of knowledge and understanding of the foundational theories, constructs and methodologies of Linguistics.
The answer must show a better than average ability in all/most of the learning outcomes.
The linguistic examples used in the answer may be based upon examples from the literature but must also include original examples.
The answer must show evidence of background study with at least some from primary sources.

Learning outcomes

  1. Students will be able to identify and explain in detail the major types of speech and language impairments in monolinguals and bilinguals.

  2. Students will be able to identify and critically evaluate the linguistic characteristics of each these types and give detailed explanations of how these findings relate to linguistic theory.

  3. Students will be able to present and discuss key facts, concepts, ideas and approaches relating to the study of language disorders in a sophisticated way.

  4. Students will be able to describe in detail, analyse and critically compare competing accounts and theories concerning atypical language acquisition and acquired language disorders in monolinguals and bilinguals to an advanced level.

  5. Students will be able to critically evaluate relevant empirical studies in a sophisticated way.

  6. Students will understand the relevant techniques used for this domain of research, and demonstrate the ability to select the relevant ones for use them in their own research.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Assignment 1 40
Assignment 2 60

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

In their own time, students will be expected to do further reading, go through materials covered in class and do further research on the topics, and prepare assignments.


Students may see the lecturer on a one-to-one basis during published office hours (or by appointment) to discuss issues with the module content, seek clarification on topics and discussions, and discuss feedback on assessments and class exercises.


One 2-hour lecture per week for 11 weeks.

Private study

Directed Reading - students are given required reading each week (of about 3 hours) on the topic of that week's lecture.


One 1-hour seminar per fortnight (5 over the 11 weeks).


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Research skills - students will be able to undertake advanced independent research, involving formulating a research question, identifying and deploying appropriate linguistic methodology (theoretical or empirical), data collection techniques (experimental or field-based), as well as the selection and application of appropriate theoretical frameworks in order to adequately analyse and interpret data.
  • Writing & scholarly conventions - students will be able to present data, argumentation, findings and references in written form in keeping with the conventions current in language science and English language studies to an advanced standard.
  • Analysis & interpretation skills - students will be able to analyse and interpret data accurately and to draw appropriate conclusions based on the application of appropriate analytic and theoretical frameworks available in linguistics and English language studies.
  • Evaluation & reflection - students will be able to critically evaluate to an advanced standard a particular position, viewpoint or argument in relation to a specific area of investigation. They will be able to reflect on the efficacy of a particular approach, practice or performance, and moderate these as a consequence in order to achieve specific goals.
  • Independent investigation - students will develop the ability to plan, design and execute a highly original and significant piece of research or inquiry, either independently or as a member of a team in order to discover a specific solution to an outstanding issue or question through searching out and synthesising written, visual and oral information. Students will also develop skills of independent investigation, including interacting with peers and participants/informants.
  • Effective communication - students will develop the ability to communicate effectively, appropriately and confidently, in a range of contexts, to different audience types, and making use of a range of supporting materials
  • Awareness of and appreciation for linguistic and cultural differences - students will develop an awareness of and an appreciation for the range and nature of linguistic and cultural diversity.
  • Understanding of the nature of bi/multilingualism - students will demonstrate familiarity with phenomena and findings relating to the nature of bilingual and multilingual individuals and communities.
  • Knowledge of linguistic theory and application - students will demonstrate a detailed knowledge of terms, issues, principles, aspects and best practices related to the study of human language and linguistics.
  • Understanding of the nature and organisation of language - students will demonstrate detailed knowledge of observations and findings relating to various aspects of linguistic phenomena and organization.
  • Knowledge of the relationship between language and society, culture, and/or embodied experience - students will demonstrate detailed knowledge of phenomena and findings relating to the complex interdependent relationship between language, society culture and/or embodied experience.
  • Knowledge of the relationship between language and mind/brain - students will demonstrate detailed knowledge of phenomena and findings relating to the complex interdependent relationship between language and mind/brain.


Resource implications for students


Talis Reading list

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: