Summer School 2017: Interdisciplinary approaches to multilingualism – socio-cognitive aspects

The theme for the MultiLing summer school 2017 is Interdisciplinary approaches to multilingualism – socio-cognitive aspects.  

Classrooms with teacher and students

Photo: Nadia Frantsen/ UiO

The MultiLing Summer School 2017 is 4-day intensive course August 28 – August 31, 2017, involving a maximum of 16 PhD students, in addition to participating researchers from MultiLing. The program will consist of lectures (2 x 45 minutes) in the morning and in the afternoon Monday to Thursday and short student presentations followed by discussions.

The students will send in an abstract for their presentation in advance (1/2 - 1 page) and they will each have an opponent from among the other students. The students will also be assigned a certain amount of readings (about 500–700 pages, suggested by the lecturers) as a preparation for the course.

The course will examine a broad range of issues relating to human development and language use and learning that problematize a strict separation of cognitive and social aspects of human activity.

Lecturers will be Professor Steven L. Thorne and Professor Nick C. Ellis. 


Steven L. Thorne: Beyond Bounded Conceptions of Cognition and Context in Language Use and Development

Within applied linguistics as well as other disciplines, there is growing commitment to frameworks that are not only concerned with the social context but also the ecological conditions of the language societies, in addition to the mental and physiological factors of the speakers. These frameworks recognize communicative practices as coordinated, embodied, relational, distributed, and arrayed across mutable patterns of activity that emerge at different time scales. Various theoretical and methodological-analytical approaches will be illustrated via presentation of empirical studies of L2 and plurilingual language use and learning. These include case studies of “learning in the wild” (in the sense of Hutchins, 1995), focusing primarily on L2 and plurilingual interaction in digital environments, and exploration of innovative pedagogical interventions, such as mobile place-based augmented reality, that emphasize the “rewilding” of instructed language learning, with an emphasis on research findings that highlight patterns of social organization and learning outcomes that these activities make possible.

Over four lectures, we will discuss frameworks and methodologies that include cultural-historical and ecological approaches to development, extended and embodied cognition, Usage-based Linguistics, ethnomethodology, corpus linguistic methodologies, and recent scholarship described as the Distributed Language Approach.


Nick C. Ellis: Usage-Based Approaches to Language Acquisition and Processing

Usage-based and emergentist theories of language acquisition investigate how abstract linguistic knowledge is learned from experience of language in social context. Accordingly, usage-based approaches consider (1) the psychology of learning and cognition, (2) corpus analyses of the usage from which learners induce their language, (3) child (L1) and second language (L2) analyses of how input and learner cognition together drive acquisition, (4) psycholinguistic analyses of these factors as they affect language processing.

Lecture 1 : Implicit and Explicit Learning of Language

Lecture 2 : Constructions in Usage and Acquisition

Lecture 3 : Usage-based approaches to Language Processing

Lecture 4 : Cognitive Approaches to SLA and Language Change


Nick Ellis, University of Michigan.

Nick Ellis is Professor of Psychology and Linguistics at the University of Michigan. His research interests include language acquisition, cognition, emergentism, corpus linguistics, cognitive linguistics, applied linguistics, and psycholinguistics. Recent books include: Usage-based Approaches to Language Acquisition and Processing: Cognitive and Corpus Investigations of Construction Grammar (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016, with Römer and O’Donnell), Language as a Complex Adaptive System (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009, with Larsen-Freeman), and Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition (Routledge, 2008, with Robinson). He serves as  General Editor of Language Learning.

Steve Thorne (Portland State University, external link)

Steve Thorne (Ph.D., UC Berkeley) is Professor of Second Language Acquisition in the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Portland State University (USA), with a secondary appointment in the Department of Applied Linguistics at the University of Groningen (The Netherlands). His interests include formative interventions in world language education contexts, intercultural communication, indigenous language revitalization, communication across new media and mobile technologies, and research that draws upon contextual traditions of language analysis and usage-based and distributed approaches to language development.


The program can be seen here.

Reading list

The reading list will be available at the end of May.


The participants must be enrolled in a PhD program in linguistics or a related field of study. There is no course fee, but participants will have to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses.


The application deadline has now passed. Please note that in addition to the application form we also require that your supervisor sends us a brief recommendation for your attendance at the summer school. This should be emailed to Malene Bøyum ( by the application deadline.


Anne Golden and Hana Gustafsson
Published Apr. 7, 2017 3:41 PM - Last modified June 2, 2022 2:03 PM