L3 acquisition: A focus on cognitive approaches

Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

Interest in third language (L3) acquisition has increased exponentially in recent years, due to its potential to inform long-lasting debates in theoretical linguistics, language acquisition and psycholinguistics. From the very beginning, researchers investigating child and adult L3 acquisition have considered the many diverse cognitive factors that constrain and condition the initial state and development of newly acquired languages, and their models have duly evolved to incorporate insights from the most recent findings in psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics and cognitive psychology. The articles in this Special Issue of Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, in dealing with issues such as age of acquisition, attrition, relearning, cognitive economy or the reliance on different memory systems – to name but a few – provide an accurate portrayal of current inquiry in the field, and are a particularly fine example of how instrumental research in language acquisition and other cognitive domains can be to each other.