Crosslinguistic Influence in Multilinguals An Examination of Chinese-English-French Speakers Author: Wai Lan Tsang

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07 Dec 2016
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


This book reports on a research project conducted in multilingual Hong Kong, where Cantonese is the mother tongue (L1) of the majority of the population and learning different foreign languages is commonplace. In addition to English, which is usually the second language (L2), more and more people learn other languages, such as French (L3). Drawing on the notions of ‘interface’ and ‘reverse transfer’ in second language acquisition, this book addresses the possible role of L3 French in the acquisition of English as an L2 with two major concerns: firstly, the degree to which L3 acquisition will bring about a positive or negative transfer effect on L2 acquisition and secondly, the way in which an L3 interacts with an L2 and/or even an L1 on different interfaces as identified in second language acquisition. The study will appeal to researchers interested in second and third language acquisition, bi- and multilingualism and crosslinguistic influence.


An illuminating study of multilingualism based on original research on second and third language acquisition. Wai Lan Tsang’s approach strikes a balance between theoretical rigour and empirical evidence and furthers our understanding of crosslinguistic influence in the grammars of multilingual speakers.

- Ianthi Maria Tsimpli, University of Cambridge, UK

This highly original volume breaks new ground in the study of the interaction between languages in the multilingual speaker’s repertoire. It is an outstanding contribution to the study of grammar in third language acquisition and multilingualism because of the illuminating insights obtained from the combination of three languages, Cantonese, English and French.

- Jasone Cenoz, University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, Spain

A pioneer in third language acquisition in the East Asian context, Wai Lan Tsang shows how cross-linguistic influence in multilingual speakers can be both theoretically interesting and practically important. Her study is one of the most sophisticated to date on the phenomenon of reverse transfer.

- Stephen Matthews, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Author Biography:

Wai Lan Tsang is Honorary Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Programme Director at the Graduate School at The University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include second and third language acquisition, syntax and morphology.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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