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Second Language Acquisition

College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature
Department of Second Language Studies
Moore 570
1890 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8610
Fax: (808) 956-2802
Web: www.hawaii.edu/sls


*Graduate Faculty

*C. Chaudron, PhD (Chair)—psycholinguistics, discourse analysis, second language reading and writing, classroom research, and research methods
*D. Ashworth, PhD—Japanese, second language acquisition and pedagogy, dialectology and sociolinguistics
*F. Bail, PhD—human learning and development, instructional formats
*A. Bayer, PhD—language and literacy in education
*J. Bilmes, PhD—discourse analysis, Thai sociolinguistics and pragmatics, conversational analysis
*R. Bley-Vroman, PhD—second language analysis, interlanguage syntax, formal models of second language acquisition
*J. D. Brown, PhD—second language testing, research methods, curriculum design
*H. Cook, PhD—Japanese sociolinguisitics, discourse analysis, language socialization and pragmatics
*G. Crookes, PhD—classroom teaching, classroom-centered research, materials and syllabus design, discourse analysis, methodology of science
*K. Davis, PhD—qualitative research, language policy and planning, literacy, bilingual education
*R. Day, PhD—second language pedagogy, learning and use, classroom research, discourse analysis, teacher training, pedagogical grammar
*M. Forman, PhD—ethnographic linguistics, Philippine studies
*T. Hudson, PhD—language testing, reading, methods and materials, ESP, research methods
*K. Kanno, PhD—Japanese second language acquisition, pedagogical grammar, language analysis
*G. Kasper, PhD—second language curriculum, discourse analysis, interlanguage pragmatics, qualitative second language research methods
*Y. C. Li, PhD—Chinese syntax and semantics, second language learning and testing
*J. Norris, PhD—instructed SL acquisition, SL pedagogy and task-based teaching, language program evaluation, language assessment, testing, measurement, research methods, research synthesis and meta-analysis
*W. O’Grady, PhD—syntax, language acquisition, Korean
*L. Ortega-Alvarez-Ossorio, PhD—SL acquisition, SL writing, foreign language education, research methods
*A. Peters, PhD—child first- and second-language acquisition, language socialization, biological foundations of language
*T. Ramos, PhD—Philippine linguistics, second language learning and teaching, child language acquisition, multilingualism, sociolinguistics
*K. Rehg, PhD—phonology, bilingual education, Micronesian linguistics
*R. Schmidt, PhD—second language learning, sociolinguistics and ESL, second language phonology, Arabic, Portuguese
*B. Schwartz, PhD—linguistic theory and SL acquisition and analysis, Universal Grammar, child second language acquisition
*K. Wolfe-Quintero, PhD—interlanguage analysis, writing pedagogy
*S. Zhang, PhD—research methodology, design and statistics, computer applications, Chinese-English translation and interpretation

Degree Offered: PhD in second language acquisition

Academic Program

The PhD program in second language acquisition (SLA) is administered by the Department of Second Language Studies.

The graduate faculty of the program is interdisciplinary—drawn not only from the SLS department but also from faculty in the Departments of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Educational Psychology, Hawaiian and Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures, and Linguistics. The SLA PhD is a WICHE approved program. UH Manoa also offers an MA in ESL (see the “Second Language Studies” section within the Colleges of Arts and Sciences for more information).

The courses in the program are organized into four areas of specialization:

  1. Second Language Analysis—Structural analysis of learners’ language development; comparison of native and nonnative languages; second-language varieties; differences arising from social and geographical contexts; phonological, grammatical, and discoursal properties; typological factors; putative universals.
  2. Second Language Learning—Studies of the biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors in the language-learning process; the role of universals; interlanguages; the processes of comprehension and production.
  3. Second Language Use—Studies of the social functions of second and foreign languages; pidgins, creoles, and dialect variation; roles of social and geographical contexts; pragmatics; discourse analysis; cross-cultural and inter-ethnic communication; sociopolitical factors.
  4. Second Language Pedagogy—Research into language-learner needs (including immigrant needs); formulation of needs-based curriculum objectives and syllabi; computer-aided instruction; program administration; evaluation and language assessment.

Graduate Study

Doctoral Degree

The basic requirement for admission into the PhD program is the completion of an MA in ESL, applied linguistics, or second- or foreign-language education. Applicants with graduate degrees in such related disciplines as anthropology, education, English, modern languages, linguistics, and psychology are also welcome. In addition to the admission requirements of the Graduate Division, the SLA PhD program requires (a) letters of recommendation (three of which should be from academic sources); (b) copies of an MA thesis, publications, or other research; (c) a statement of research interests; (d) a brief description of relevant professional experience and language skills; and (e) GRE General Test scores (for both native and nonnative speakers of English). Applicants whose native language is not English must score at least 600 (620 preferred) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Students are normally admitted for the fall semester, but spring admission is possible in special cases. Candidates are encouraged to apply early. There are various sources of financial aid. The program strives to provide financial support for the best qualified doctoral students throughout their course of studies by means of research and teaching assistantships. Write to the Graduate Chair of the SLS department for additional information.


Students work closely with their advisers and doctoral committees in defining their individualized programs. In order to establish a common core of expertise among students, specific courses are designated according to the background of each student. The basic preparation expected as part of their MA training is at least one graduate-level course in each of the four areas of specialization comparable to the courses indicated as such below. Beyond basic preparation, each doctoral student’s program must include a minimum of two graduate-level courses in each of three of the subfields of specialization and a minimum of two graduate-level courses in research methods. At least two courses must be at the 700 level.

Doctoral candidates must pass a comprehensive examination before the dissertation and a final oral examination defending the dissertation.

Students must also demonstrate competence in two languages other than their native language. The languages chosen should be relevant to their program or professional plans. This requirement may be satisfied by course work or examination. Reading knowledge is required for one language. This part of the requirement must be satisfied before advancement to candidacy. For the second language, either reading competence or oral proficiency will fulfill the requirement, which must be satisfied before the comprehensive examination is taken. Alternatively, specific course work in language typology or contrastive language studies (such as SLS 642) may be used to fulfill the requirement. Where the doctoral committee considers it appropriate for specific programs, additional language requirements may be imposed.

The following is a partial listing of courses available in each of the four subfields of second language acquisition. These are listed to indicate the range of offerings at UH Manoa and to guide students and their doctoral committees in designing plans of study. The courses listed do not constitute a closed list; other courses may be approved by students’ doctoral committees. In addition, the majority of the 600- and 700-level courses listed have prerequisites, which students may be required to take in the appropriate departments.

Second Language Analysis

  • SLS 640 English Syntax (3) (basic preparation)
  • SLS 642 Comparative Grammar and Second Language Acquisition (3)
  • SLS 680N Second Language Analysis (3)
  • CHN 641 Contrastive Analysis of Mandarin and English (3)
  • CHN 642 Contrastive Analysis of Mandarin and English (3)
  • CHN 750C Research Seminar in Chinese Language: Structure (3)
  • ENG 745 Seminar in English Language (3)
  • JPN 634 Advanced Japanese Syntax and Semantics (3)
  • JPN 650C Topics in Japanese Linguistics: Japanese/English Contrastive Analysis (3)
  • LING 650 Advanced Linguistic Analysis (3)
  • LING 651 Advanced Linguistic Analysis (3)
  • LLEA 681(Alpha) Topics in Language (3)

Second Language Learning

  • SLS 650 Second Language Acquisition (3) (basic preparation)n SLS 673 Applied Psycholinguistics and SLA (3)
  • SLS 680E Second Language Learning (3)
  • SLS 750 Seminar in Second Language Acquisition (3)
  • EDEP 768C Seminar in Educational Psychology: Learning (3)
  • LING 616 Biological Foundations of Language (3)
  • LING 670 Developmental Linguistics (3)
  • LING 750Q Seminar: Language Acquisition (3)
  • PSY 726 Seminar in Cognitive Science (3)

Second Language Use

  • SLS 660 Sociolinguistics and Second Languages (3) (basic preparation)
  • SLS 680U Second Language Use (3)
  • SLS 760 Seminar in Second Language Use (3)
  • CHN 750E Research Seminar in Chinese Language: Sociolinguistics (3)
  • JPN 633 Japanese Sociolinguistics (3)
  • LING 635 Language Variation (3)
  • LING 750S Seminar: Sociolinguistics (3)

Second Language Pedagogy

  • SLS 613 Second Language Listening and Speaking (3)
  • SLS 614 Second Language Writing (3)
  • SLS 620 Second Language Reading (3)
  • SLS 630 Second Language Program Development (3)
  • SLS 671 Research in Language Testing (3)
  • SLS 680P Second Language Pedagogy (3)
  • SLS 710 Teaching English as a Second Language (3) (basic preparation)
  • SLS 730 Seminar in Second Language Pedagogy (3)
  • CHN 750B Research Seminar in Chinese Language: Teaching Methods (3)
  • EALL 601 Method of Teaching East Asian Languages (3)
  • EDEP 768G Seminar in Educational Psychology: Educational Evaluation (3)
  • ENG 680 Theory and Practice of Teaching Composition (3)
  • ENG 740 Seminar in Composition Studies (3)
  • JPN 650P Topics in Japanese Linguistics: Pedagogy (3)
  • TECS 631 Content Area: Language and Learning (3)
  • TECS 641(Alpha) Seminar in Foreign Language (3)
  • TECS 667(Alpha) Seminar in Curriculum (3)

Research Methods

  • SLS 670 Second Language Research Methods (3)
  • SLS 672 Second Language Classroom Research (3)
  • SLS 675 Second Language Interpretive Qualitative

Research (3)

  • SLS 678 Microanalysis in Second Language Research (3)
  • SLS 680R Second Language Research Methodology (3)
  • SLS 775 Seminar in Second Language Qualitative Research: Methods (3)
  • EALL 603 (Alpha) Bibliographical and Research Methods (East Asian Languages and Literatures) (3)
  • EDEP 602 Computer Analysis of Data (3)
  • EDEP 604 Multiple Regression in Behavioral Research (3)
  • EDEP 768H Seminar in Educational Psychology: Research Methodology (3)
  • LLEA 630 Seminar in Research Methods (European Languages) (V)
  • LING 630 Field Methods (3)

SLS Courses