Exploring the Relationship Between Multilingual Learning Experience, Metalinguistic Knowledge, and Metalinguistic Awareness

Francesca D’Angelo


The last two decades have witnessed a considerable increase in interest in Third or Additional Language Acquisition (TLA). The positive effects of bilingualism in TLA have related the advantages evident in bilingual learners to the influence of bilingualism on cognitive development and, specifically, Metalinguistic Awareness (MLA). The paper aims, first, at providing a comprehensive portrait of what MLA is, considering the complexity of this factor, its linguistic and cognitive nature along the implicit - explicit continuum. Second, it disentangles the intricate relationship between TLA on one hand, and the development of MLA and other mediating factors on the other, including level of bilingualism, literacy, age of acquisition of the L2, language use, and language knowledge. Third, the work focuses on a factor that has been the object of an intense debate in psycholinguistics, i.e. the role of awareness in the language learning process, to shed light on the different aspects distinguishing Metalinguistic Knowledge (MLK) and Metalinguistic Awareness (MLA) of the language. A comprehensive analysis of the most influential literature in the field, comparing contrasting perspectives of study, will be propounded to offer a comprehensive overview of the discussed phenomena to better understand the impact they have on multilingual education.

Parole chiave

Third Language Acquisition; Bilingualism; Metalinguistic Awareness; Metalinguistic Knowledge; Multilingual Education.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15162/1970-1861/1249


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