Skip to content

L2 Acquisition

Second Language Acquisition

Second language acquisition (SLA) is a major branch of Applied Linguistics and draws on disciplines within the field of linguistics, such as sociolinguistics, phonology, and syntax, as well as disciplines outside of linguistics, such as cognitive science, education, sociology, and psychology. Scholars with an interest in SLA investigate internal (i.e., mental) and external factors that play a role in the acquisition of second languages, including but not limited to age and exposure, linguistic backgrounds, aptitude, motivation, instructional settings and practices, and societal contexts.

Learn about our related concentration in Second Language Phonology.

Learn more about the Department of Linguistics BAMA and PhD programs and Computational Linguistics Certificate and the TESOL Certificate for undergraduate and graduate students.


Faculty in the Department of Linguistics with an interest in SLA supervise student research on crosslinguistic influence, the development of second language (L2) proficiency in multiple domains (e.g., vocabulary, grammar, listening, writing, pragmatics), and the effects of language instruction on L2 learning, acquisition, and use.

MaryAnn Christison

Faculty ProfileCurriculum Vitae

I work primarily in the areas of instructed second language acquisition and second language teacher education. My research draws on a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches from various disciplines to understand how language develops (second, third, etc.) for diverse learners in varied contexts and how teachers can best facilitate that development. My current research interests focus on the following: curriculum design, particularly content and language-integrated learning; leadership in language education; multilingualism, online language teacher education (OLTE); and teacher and learner cognition and identity development. I also maintain a long-standing interest in reviewing and interpreting the research related to the biological basis for language development in the brain. I have targeted my research and publishing priorities to reflect these interests.

Last Updated: 8/21/23