The awareness individuals have about how language is used and learnt, or their metalinguistic awareness, increases with exposure to and experience with foreign languages. This experience gives bilinguals an enhanced knowledge of language as a systematic procedure and allows them to reflect on their usage and become aware of inconsistencies and mistakes faster than their monolingual counterparts (Jessner, 1999). Bilinguals who have acquired L2 after childhood also have a set of skills and experiences that are more relevant to language learning than monolinguals. Ringbom (1987) uses this concept to explain the reasons behind why his results showed that bilingual Finnish-Swedish individuals were better at learning English than monolingual Finnish speakers. There are many studies that support that the effects of becoming bilingual have positive consequences on the speed and ease of acquiring a third language (Keshavarz, 2004) (Jessner, 1999) (Ringbom, 1987). In the process of third language acquisition bilinguals are therefo...
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...stulated that the presumption that Latinate Spanish is more similar to Italian and French than Germanic English resulted in the choice to transfer linguistic knowledge from Spanish, whether it helps or hinders acquisition. This study shows that proximity in linguistic typology is a dominant factor in the determination of whether to use L1 or L2 as a base for leaning L3.
However it is only clear that this is the main force behind the implicit choice of which language to base L3 upon, when one of the languages is, to the learner, distinctly more similar to the L3 than the other. (Rothman, 2010) (Hammarberg, 2001) In situations where it is not possible for an individual to determine whether L1 or L2 is closer in typology to L3, there is no impact of this factor on which language is used for cross-linguistic transfer. This would occur when the typology of L1, L2 and L3
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