AUTHOR: Jessner, Ulrike TITLE: Linguistic Awareness in Multilinguals SUBTITLE: English as a Third Language PUBLISHER: Edinburgh University Press YEAR: 2006
Anastassia Zabrodskaja, Department of Estonian Philology, Tallinn University (Estonia)
The purpose of this book is to explore links between research in third language acquisition and trilingualism, cognitive aspects of language acquisition and metalinguistic awareness. All this is done on the basis of English as one of the languages in a multilingual context. The book comprises six chapters.
The first chapter of the book, Multilingualism with English, concentrates on the sociolinguistic aspects of multilingualism, which are seen to develop in parallel with the changing status of English. Following Hoffmann's (2000) approach the author focuses on 'multilingualism with English'. The interdependency between linguistic conditions on the societal level and the individual use and knowledge of languages is emphasized. As a widely used lingua franca English is developing distinct characteristics. The essential research question of when a speaker can be called multilingual is discussed.
The second chapter, Learning and using a third language, analyzes the psycholinguistic aspects of the TLA (third language acquisition). Jessner specifies differences between the processes of SLA and TLA. She demonstrates models of multilingualism that exemplify language awareness and language choices in a multilingual individual. De Bot (1992, 2004) presents a bilingual production model on the basis of Levelt's (1989) speech processing model created for monolinguals, stating that there is no real need for developing a specific model for multilingual processing. Taking Levelt's model into account Clyne (2003) integrates sociolinguistic and social psychological dimensions such as the speaker's multiple identity into a single framework and presents a model of plurilingual processing. Green (1986, 1998) reveals that bilinguals do not switch one of their languages on or off but that their languages show different levels of activation. Grosjean (1998, 2001) proposes a language mode continuum that focuses on the variability of speech situations. Following dynamics systems theory (DST), the crude formula of multilingual proficiency is used in dynamic model of multilingualism (DMM) developed by Herdina and Jessner (2002):
LS1 + LS2 + LS3 + LSN + CLIN + M = MP
where: LS: language system CLIN: cross-linguistic interaction M: M(ultilingualism)-factor MP: multilingual proficiency
As part of the M-factor in DMM, third language learners develop an enhanced level of metalinguistic awareness and metacognitive strategies, which considerably contribute to the quality of CLIN in multilinguals.
The third chapter, ''On the nature of linguistic awareness,'' provides a state-of-the-art description of research on metalinguistic awareness including a presentation of the functions and roles that metalinguistic awareness in multilingual speech and learning can fulfil. First of all, a history of research on metalinguistic awareness in bilinguals is presented. Providing a comprehensive overview of research on metalinguistic awareness, Jessner states that the terminology used in this growing area of research on multilingualism is rather confusing (I would suggest that the question of confusing terminology is relevant in code-switching research as well, see Milroy and Muysken 1995; Pfaff 1997; Clyne 2003 for a discussion). The author suggests that linguistic awareness might also be studied from the point of view of qualitative changes in learning processes. It plays a decisive role in monitoring and cross-linguistic interaction in multilinguals, which contribute to the understanding of multilingual proficiency. Monitoring is described as keeping track of how the learning process is going and taking appropriate measures to deal with problems interfering with the process (Flavell 1981: 272).
The fourth chapter, ''Exploring linguistic awareness in third language use,'' aims to provide evidence of linguistic awareness as an essential component of multilingual proficiency. The author deals with multilingual studies of language mixing resulting from linguistic search in various settings. The methodology of introspection is described. Jessner presents a study carried at Innsbruck University with Italian-German bilingual students from South Tyrol studying English as their third language. The research method was introspection in the form of thinking-aloud protocols (TAPs), that is, the testees were asked to articulate aloud all their thoughts during the writing performance without the use of a dictionary. The thoughts were tape-recorded, transcribed and analyzed. The structure of this investigation was based on a study of academic writing in a second language (Cumming 1988). The aim of the Tyrol study is to explore the relationship between cross-linguistic interaction and linguistic awareness in the use of multilingual compensatory strategies. Strategies served to compensate for lexical insecurity or for a total lack of target language knowledge or were employed in the search for alternatives. The switches to German and Italian varied in length from one word to whole sentences. A detailed analysis of examples is presented as well. The chapter ends with considerations on future research.
In the fifth chapter, ''Crystallizing linguistic awareness in multilingual education,'' research on linguistic awareness in multilingual education is presented. Jessner notices that in contrast to bilingual education, third language learning at school has received little attention so far. A growing number of studies of the linguistic behaviour of multilinguals clearly give evidence of cross-lexical search and thus represent an argument against total separation or independence of languages in multilingual processing. While from the 1970s to 1980s the mother tongue was assumed to exert only negative influence, recent studies have shown the facilitative role of transfer in the language learning process. Language awareness begins with the teacher (James and Garrett 1991: 121). But making language learners aware of their own metacognitive knowledge is also an essential aim of multilingual education ('how to learn to learn a language'). Concentrating on new ways of looking at English as part of a developing multilingual system in the language learner, Jessner underlines some innovative didactic approaches to teaching in the multilingual classroom. She stresses that teaching English as L3 is not teaching English as L2. The differences between native and non-native teachers of English are also discussed. Jessner concludes that every English teacher potentially and necessarily needs to function as a forerunner and founder of multilingualism.
In the sixth chapter, Envoi, Jessner emphasizes the need of restructuring and expanding language awareness definitions and scope. The fundamental reframing of linguistics towards multilingual norms is also required.
The study is an excellent introduction into linguistic awareness research and into the complexities of multilingualism in general. Trilingualism has become a growth area in research that has sociolinguistic, psycholinguistic, social and cultural identity, political and educational dimensions (Cenoz and Jessner 2000; Hoffmann and Ytsma 2004). Jessner's study on trilingualism analyzes the current and future place of English as the most important language of wider communication.
Previous research on cross-linguistic influence in foreign language acquisition has primarily focused on the influence of a native language on the acquisition of a second language. Jessner's book compares second and third language acquisition as processes that are closely related to each other. In a review of research on trilingualism, Cenoz and Genesee (1998: 20) rightly conclude that 'bilingualism does not hinder the acquisition of an additional language and, to the contrary, in most cases bilingualism favours the acquisition of a third language'. Jessner covers much new ground in the nature of linguistic awareness and explores linguistic awareness in third language use. Some questions for future research are also underlined. The relevant, clear and engaging examples, figures and tables make the issues discussed very accessible. The book would be an excellent source for introducing bilingual students to the field of multilingualism and multilingual awareness on multilinguals.
The book is reader-friendly: each chapter begins with an overview of the following discussion; the results of analysis are explicitly stated; the main concepts are sufficiently recounted and restated throughout the book. The formatting of the book is clear and well-organized and the data are clearly laid out and attractive to the reader. Throughout the book, terminology specific to studies on third language studies is explained where used, which makes the book very accessible for students.
There is no doubt that the aims of this book have been fully accomplished and that its overall quality makes it worth reading. Engaging as it is, _Linguistic Awareness in Multilinguals_ opens the door of the fascinating area of multilingualism to scholars of multilingualism as well as students.
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Cenoz, Jasone & Ulrike Jessner (eds.) (2000). English in Europe: The Acquisition of a Third Language. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Clyne, Michael (2003). Dynamics of Language Contact. English and Immigrant Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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Grosjean, François (2001). The bilingual's language modes. In One Mind, Two Languages: Bilingual Language Processing, ed. By Janet Nicol. Oxford: Blackwell, 1–25.
Herdina, Philip & Ulrike Jessner (2002). A Dynamic Model of Multilingualism: Changing the Psycholinguistic Perspective. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Hoffmann, Charlotte (2000). The spread of English and the growth of multilingualism with English in Europe. In English in Europe: The Acquisition of a Third Language, ed. by Jasone Cenoz & Ulrike Jessner. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 1–21.
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Pfaff, Carol (1997). Contacts and conflicts: perspectives from code-switching research. In Language Choices. Conditions, Constraints and Consequences, ed. by Martin Pütz. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 341–380.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
"The issues discussed in Jessner's book are very close to my heart. The metaphor "Life with Two Languages" (Grosjean 1982) became a part of my life when I began my studies at the university. Using Estonian and Russian was suddenly my everyday reality. English is my third language, acquired in the school and university academic context. Choosing different languages for different purposes and code-switching have all been part of my daily language use."
Anastassia Zabrodskaja, M.A., is a researcher at the Department of Estonian Philology at Tallinn University, Estonia. She received her M.A. in Estonian Philology from Tallinn University in 2005. She is a second-year doctoral student in linguistics. Her scholarly interests comprise code-switching, language choice patterns among L2 speakers, cross-linguistic influence in SLA.