Chapter

Language switches in L3 production: Implications for a polyglot speaking model

Sarah Williams and Björn Hammarberg

in Processes in Third Language Acquisition

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780748635115
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651504 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635115.003.0003
Language switches in L3 production: Implications for a polyglot speaking model

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This chapter presents a detailed study of the learner's use of language switches (code-switching into English and German) during conversations in Swedish. The learner made abundant use of such switches, particularly in the early stages of L3 development. The switches were found to differ in nature according to their pragmatic purposes, and so did the involvement of the background languages. Switches to L1 English occurred predominantly in various types of pragmatically purposeful switches, whereas seemingly automatic, non-intentional switches usually involved L2 German. These latter switches are interpreted to be part of the learner's formulation attempts in L3. Other observations, too, indicate that the L2 knowledge of German tended to be active during utterance formulation in Swedish. There was even an amount of observed German influence on inserted English utterances during these conversations, something which underscores the strong coactivation of a prior L2 in this speech situation. The findings are discussed in relation to recent models of the speaking process. A functional role division for the speaker's languages is proposed, distinguishing between an instrumental role (as evidenced in pragmatic language switches, used for metalinguistic and metacommunicative purposes) and a supplier role (supplying linguistic material for formulations in the target language).

Keywords: language switching; Swedish; English; German; language learning; language learners; third language

Chapter.  13442 words. 

Subjects: Language Teaching and Learning

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