Towards a description of trilingual competence

Hoffmann, C 2001, 'Towards a description of trilingual competence' , International Journal of Bilingualism, 5 (1) , pp. 1-17.

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Most studies involving trilingualism have been carried out within the theoretical framework of bilingualism research. No attempt has been made to delimit trilingualism as a concept in its own right, and often it has been assumed to be an extension of bilingualism. In young children, trilingual language acquisition largely follows the path of bilingual acquisition. With regard to language behavior there are again similarities, but certain differences can be observed. As an overview of studies of individual trilingualism, the present article aims to provide a framework for the discussion. Models of bilingual language competence serve as a starting point to an investigation of possible defining features of trilingual competence. Of particular interest are the pragmatic component of language competence; the trilingual's ability to make appropriate linguistic choices in monolingual/bilingual/ trilingual communication modes; and observed codeswitching. The question of how and when a trilingual's languages become activated or deactivated leads to a consideration of language processing and metalinguistic awareness. In the absence of research involving trilinguals, bilingual models are examined with a view to pointing out possible similarities and differences. It is suggested that these are both of a quantitative and qualitative kind, and therefore trilingual competence is distinct from bilingual competence.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in International Journal of Bilingualism, 5 (1), 2001 by SAGE Publications Ltd, All rights reserved. © C. Hoffmann.
Themes: Subjects / Themes > P Language and Literature > PB Modern languages. Celtic languages > PB0001 Modern languages
Subjects / Themes > P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Bilingualism
Publisher: Kingston Press Ltd
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 13670069
Depositing User: H Kenna
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2009 17:06
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 08:05

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