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14 - Heritage Speakers as L3 Acquirers

from Part III - Becoming and Staying Multilingual at Different Ages

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 July 2023

Jennifer Cabrelli
University of Illinois, Chicago
Adel Chaouch-Orozco
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Jorge González Alonso
Universidad Nebrija, Spain and UiT, Arctic University of Norway
Sergio Miguel Pereira Soares
Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Eloi Puig-Mayenco
King's College London
Jason Rothman
UiT, Arctic University of Norway and Universidad Nebrija, Spain
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This chapter examines a population of third language (L3) learners that has received little attention, namely heritage speaker (HS) L3 learners, who grow up speaking two languages in early childhood. Unlike traditionally studied L3 learners, who acquired their L2 as older children, HSs have two naturalistically acquired languages to draw from, which has been suggested to have implications for L3 acquisition. By examining existing linguistically oriented research with HS L3ers, we discuss (1) whether patterns of acquisition differ in HS L3ers as compared to traditionally studied populations, and (2) whether this differs for L3 morphosyntax versus L3 phonetics-phonology. After a brief discussion of methodological limitations, we conclude that transfer patterns in early bilinguals in many respects mirror those for late bilinguals. However, differences across the domains of L3 morphosyntax versus L3 phonology are evident, with phonetic–phonological transfer more likely to stem from the dominant language. Some explanations and suggestions for further research are offered.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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