The role of second language English in the process of learning third language German

The field of third language acquisition (TLA) has become a rapidly developing branch of the study of second language acquisition in the past two decades. The aim of the present dissertation is to contribute to the international research by involving subjects with a Hungarian mother tongue. To that e...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Tápainé Balla Ágnes
Other Authors: Donald Peckham
Format: Dissertation
Published: 2012-12-06
Subjects:
doi:10.14232/phd.1658

mtmt:2219844
Online Access:http://doktori.ek.szte.hu/1658
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Summary:The field of third language acquisition (TLA) has become a rapidly developing branch of the study of second language acquisition in the past two decades. The aim of the present dissertation is to contribute to the international research by involving subjects with a Hungarian mother tongue. To that end,the present longitudinal study was designed to investigate the learning processes of L1 Hungarian subjects learning L2 English and L3 German. The participants were 53 secondary school learners in two treatment groups and two control groups with as homogeneous linguistic biographies as possible. The treatment groups –representing two different age groups –were provided with special instruction on the cross-linguistic similarities and differences of English and German. The data sources included two major types, those based on the subjects’ own perceptions of their learning processes in the form of questionnaires and interviews and those based on objective tests in the form of placement tests, think-aloud translation tasks and vocabulary knowledge scale tests. The combination of data collected by the differentmethodssupplemented each other to reveal how the special instruction changes the participants’ perceptions and achievement. The analysis indicates that the comparative instructionhad a positive influence on the subjects’ L3 learning. As regards the differences between the treatment groups, it is concluded that the less experienced L3 learners were influenced by the comparative instruction to a greater extent than their more experienced counterparts. A further finding of the research is that the effect of instruction seems to be more emphatic on less successful language learners. The results of the present dissertation suggest that L1 Hungarian language learners’ L3 learning processes can both be accelerated and facilitated if thelearnersare instructed with a cross-linguistic approach to the languages they learn