The use of communication strategies has been widely investigated in several studies carried out in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) contexts (Celaya and Torras, 2001; Cenoz, 2003; Muñoz, 2007). However, more limited research exists in Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) contexts, the vast majority of these investigations focusing on crosslinguistic influence as a communication strategy (Celaya and Ruiz de Zarobe, 2010; Lázaro Ibarrola and García Mayo, 2012; Martínez-Adrián and Gutiérrez Mangado, 2015). As a consequence, there is a need of studies that deal with other communication strategies such as target language-based strategies together with crosslinguistic influence.
The present study analyses the use of communication strategies (target language-based strategies andcrosslinguistic influence) in an oral narration task together with general proficiency and knowledge of receptive vocabulary in two different age/proficiency CLIL groups. The participants in both groups are L1 Spanish/L2 Basque bilinguals who are learning English as their third language (L3) in the Basque Country.
Results show that proficiency does not significantly affect the use of these communication strategies as few differences are found between the two proficiency groups analyzed. As regards the distribution of strategies, holistic (target-language based) strategies are the most used, which could be explained by the overriding effect of CLIL over proficiency (see also Martínez-Adrián, Gallardo del Puerto, and Basterrechea, in press). Additionally, correlation analyses showed that even though crosslinguistic influence does seem to go hand in hand with the level of proficiency and receptive vocabulary, this is not the case with the use of target language-based strategies. Finally, the use of target language-based communication does not show any
correlations with the use of crosslinguistic influence. The latter strategy is still relevant in these CLIL learners, who seem to use it to scaffold L3 production.