Cognitive approaches to L3 acquisition


  • Maria del Pilar Garcia Mayo Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU)
Keywords: formal linguistics, generative, L3, multilingualism, psycholinguistics, transfer

Supporting Agencies

  • Spanish Ministry of Education
  • Basque Government


Multilingualism has established itself as an area of systematic research in linguistic studies over the last two decades. The multilingual phenomenon can be approached from different perspectives: educational, formal linguistic, neurolinguistic, psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic, among others. This article presents an overview of cognitive (psychological and formal linguistic) approaches to third language (L3) acquisition where the assumption is that language acquisition is a complex multi-faceted process. After identifying what is meant by L3, the article briefly reviews the major issues addressed from both the psycholinguistic strand and the emerging L3 linguistic strand and concentrates on those aspects that are in need of further research in both.


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Author Biography

Maria del Pilar Garcia Mayo, Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU)

María del Pilar García-Mayo works as a Full Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of the Basque Country, Spain. She holds a B.A. in Germanic Philology from the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Iowa. Most of her published work since 2000 has been on the L2/L3 acquisition of English morphosyntax (generative perspective) and the study of conversational interaction and L2 learning (interactionist approach). She is also interested in bilingual/multilingual education and the age factor.
How to Cite
Garcia Mayo, M. del P. (2012). Cognitive approaches to L3 acquisition. International Journal of English Studies, 12(1), 129–146.