Testing the current models of third language acquisition


Abstract  In this chapter, we argue that another factor should be brought into the general picture of third and additional language acquisition: the comprehensible linguistic input. Predictions of current models have been predominantly based on the cognitive psychological prominence of the three languages (native or not, adult-onset or not, naturalistic or instructed, proficient of not) as well as on the structural linguistic properties to be acquired, which may overlap or contrast. We argue that even keeping these two factors constant, discrepancies in learning outcomes still arise, which have to be explained by the linguistic experience of the learners. We support our arguments with results from two recently published studies, which document diverging developmental paths for two properties that should have been acquired in a similar manner.

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