(Meta)linguistic awareness of L3 learners of English

This project explores the (meta)linguistic awareness of L3 learners of English at various L3 proficiency levels when reflecting on their cross- linguistic influences (based on previously written text productions).

Dr. Tanja Angelovska & Prof. Dr. Angela Hahn

Duration: 2012 (ongoing), 1. pilot phase completed.

Previous studies (Sanchez 2011, Angelovska & Hahn 2012) have shown that nonnative languages are more likely to be activated than the mother tongue (L1) regardless of typology. However, less known in L3 research is how learners detect and make conscious use of cross-linguistic similarities and differences. In order to fill this gap, this project explores the role that the metalinguistic awareness (MLA) of L3 learners (Thomas, 1988; Jessner, 1999) plays in their L2 negative transfer (syntactical and lexical) which occurs in written productions of L3 English.

Our research questions are:

  1. What types of metalinguistic awareness can be traced when L3 learners reflect on their CLIs?
  2. Which L3 learners (at various proficiency levels) are aware of their CLIs and why?

Data is reported from written text productions of L3 learners of English, aged between 20–25, at different L3 proficiency levels, with various L1s and a constant variable of L2 German acquired before their target L3 English. During "language reflection sessions" with a language tutor, the learner and the tutor discover gaps in the output through interlanguage monitoring and intelligent guessing (Angelovska & Hahn, forthc.). Thirteen sessions of approx. 30 min each were transcribed, coded and analyzed with the software MaxQda.

The analysis of results shows that L3 learners make use of their prior languages in specific ways and have various types of metalinguistic awareness of language(s) structure and functioning.

Angelovska, T. (2013). "The role of (meta-)linguistic awareness in cross-linguistic interferences of L3 English." In Archibald, A. N. (ed.). Multilingual Theory and Practice in Applied Linguistics. Proceedings of the 45th Annual Meeting of the British Association for Applied Linguistics. London: Scitsiugnil Press. (direct link: http://www.baal.org.uk/proceedings_2012.pdf)