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
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
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.