Language and Speech Laboratory

Crosslinguistic influence and morphological awareness in English (third language) writing

María Orcasitas-Vicandi.

International Journal of Bilingualism      volume::-.

Aims: The aim of the present paper is twofold. Firstly, we look into the effects of a number of factors on crosslinguistic influence (study 1). Secondly, we analyse the role played by morphological awareness in the production of crosslinguistic instances (study 2). In this way, we contribute to the understanding of how crosslinguistic and metalinguistic dimensions of third language acquisition are intertwined. Methodology: We investigate lexical adaptations of the first language and second language in third language English (i.e. adapted loan words) and combine quantitative and qualitative research methods. A quantitative analysis explores the impact of the first language, the L2 factor, typology and proficiency in the target and the source languages (study 1). A qualitative analysis then proposes a categorization of the strategies used by participants to adapt their first language and second language to the target language (study 2). Data and Analysis: Language proficiency was evaluated in 222 compositions, 74 written in each language (Basque, Spanish and English). The adapted loan words found in English compositions were classified according to their source language, word category, word class and type/token categories (study 1). In addition, the strategies used by participants were identified and analysed (study 2). Findings: The results indicate that language typology is the main predictor of the source language of crosslinguistic influence, and a variety of strategies point at morphological awareness as a key factor in the strategic use of participants’ first language and second language. Originality: By mixing quantitative and qualitative methods, this paper provides additional support to the claim that crosslinguistic influence and morphological awareness are intertwined in third language writing. Significance: The overall results show that students who are morphologically aware make crosslinguistic and morphological associations and use them strategically in their third language.