Linguistic Awareness in Multilinguals: English as a Third Language

Linguistic Awareness in Multilinguals: English as a Third Language

Linguistic Awareness in Multilinguals: English as a Third Language

Linguistic Awareness in Multilinguals: English as a Third Language

Synopsis

This book discusses the nature of third language acquisition and trilingualism, exploring the key role that linguistic awareness plays in multilingual proficiency and language learning.

Excerpt

Multilingualism is a growing phenomenon and certainly not an aberration–as many, in particular monolingual speakers, may still think– but a normal necessity for the world's majority. Such a monolingual perspective, or 'linguistic myopia', is often part of those speaking a powerful language of wider communication and is frequently accompanied by a narrow cultural awareness reinforced by state policies which in many cases elevate only one language to official status (Edwards 1994: 1). Among the different reasons leading to multilingual settings one could say three are dominant, that is (1) the increasing mobility resulting in migratory movements, (2) the role of English as a lingua franca and (3) the presence of former colonial forces.

The first chapter of the book concentrates on the sociolinguistic aspects of multilingualism, which are seen to develop in parallel with the changing status of English. Our focus on 'multilingualism with English', as Hoffmann (2000) termed it, will move from a global to a Europeancentred perspective where the status and characteristics of English as a third language, which in many cases is linked to its role as a lingua franca, will be concentrated on. Although the main focus of this book rests on the psycholinguistic study of third-language use, the interdependency between linguistic conditions on the societal level and the individual use and knowledge of languages needs to be emphasized. Therefore the closing section will address some issues which are relevant for both socio-and psycholinguistic aspects of the study of the multilingual individual.

THE SPREAD OF ENGLISH WORLD-WIDE

Much has been written about the spread of English in the world. This development has been most spectacular in those countries where English . . .

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