School of Humanities


This course is part of the programme:
Master in SL studies - Linguistics

Objectives and competences

Students are introduced to earlier and modern achievements in linguistic theories regarding multilingualism;

Introduction to major topics like multilingualism and language acquisition, language processing in multilinguals, code shifting, cognitive benefits of multilingualism, diglossia.


This course is related to the linguistics courses offered within the Program.

Content (Syllabus outline)

Millions of people around the world grow up in a multilingual environment and attain more than one native language. There is, however, a continuum of degrees of acquisition and differences in the manner of language attainment among multilinguals. Current research shows that irrespective of these differences, the multilingual mind gets a trackable cognitive benefit. This course presents an introduction into psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic research on multilingualism and highlights the major linguistic and cognitive parameters of bi-/multilingualism.

Intended learning outcomes

Acquaintance with the classic and current trends in research in the relevant field.

 bilingual first language acquisition;

- early differentiation of languages; a dominant language;

- acquistional delay or acquisitional advantage

- language distance and influence in ultimate attainment

 bilingual processing

syntactic processing

lexical retrieval

code switching

 cognitive benefits of multilingualism

development of children’s executive control system

adult condition and aging

 diglossia


Ardila, A. (2003). ‘Language representation and working memory with bilinguals’, Journal of Communication Disorders 36: 233-240.

Bhatia,T. and W. Ritchie (eds.) 2013. The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism.

Bialystok, E. (2001). Bilingualism in development: Language, literacy, and cognition. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Bialystok, E. (2009). ‘Bilingualism: The good, the bad, and the indifferent’, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 12: 3-11.

Polinsky, M. (2008a). ‘Gender under incomplete acquisition: Heritage speakers’ knowledge of noun categorisation’, Heritage Language Journal 6.1.

Sorace, A. (2011). ‘Pinning down the concept of “interface” in bilingualism’, Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism 1: 1-33.


Lecture/Tutorial presence and active class participation (10%); Five one-page article summaries (20%); Final paper (a review of a topic or original data collection and discussion) (70%).

Lecturer's references

SAUERLAND, Uli, STATEVA, Penka. Two types of vagueness. V: ÉGRÉ, Paul (ur.), KLINEDINST, Nathan (ur.). Vagueness and language use, (Palgrave studies in pragmatics, language and cognition). Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, str. 121-145.

STEPANOV, Arthur, STATEVA, Penka. When QR disobeys superiority. Linguist. inq., 2009, vol. 40, no. 1, str. 176-185.

STEPANOV, Arthur, STATEVA, Penka. Successive cyclicity as residual wh-scope marking. Lingua. [Print ed.], dec. 2006, vol. 116, no. 12, str. 2107-2153.

STATEVA, Penka, How different are different degree expressions? MIT Working papers in Linguistics, 2002.

University course code: 2SL2046

Year of study: 1

Course principal:




  • Lectures: 60 hours
  • Individual work: 120 hours

Course type: elective

Languages: english

Learning and teaching methods:
lectures; participation in discussions at tutorials; homework.