Trilingual Learners’ Awareness of the Role of L1 in Learning Target Language Grammar
The role of the L1 in learning a target language has recently been reconsidered in the context of both L2 and multilingual learning and teaching, and researchers now see it as a vital resource for enriching and facilitating the process of constructing the system of another language in a learner’s mind. The L1 can serve as a useful cognitive basis for understanding how a grammatical system works in another language and for discovering form-meaning connections. In the case of multilingual learning, the role of the L1 appears to be even more complex because the interplay among all the languages known to the learner appears to impact the learning processes. The study reported in this chapter looks into the perceptions of trilingual learners about the role of the L1 (Polish) in learning L2 English and L3 Russian grammar. Ninety-four learners (university students) participated in the study, in which the research tool used was a questionnaire consisting of open-ended questions. The elicited data revealed high levels of awareness among the participants about the usefulness of the L1 in learning the grammatical system of the target languages, and, in particular, about differences between its role in learning English and Russian, and the suitability and efficiency of translation as a grammar learning strategy.
KeywordsLearning grammar Multilingual learners L1, L2, L3, English Russian
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