How are languages learned? What cognitive and social factors contribute to development in first, second, and additional languages? How can immersion and study abroad be used most effectively by students? This course is an introduction to theories and methods in investigating the process and achievement of using new language. We will explore common myths about second language acquisition and how improvisational skills are gained in new systems of culture, vocabulary, and grammar. We will also examine how age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and other social factors mediate language development. Students will learn how to examine their own experiences through methods in participant observation and autoethnography, and gain an understanding of how researchers contribute to textbook development and instructional approaches such as communicative language teaching.