Multilingual Awareness in L3 English and German Class in Primary School

Jasmina Troha, Ana Petravić, Ana Šenjug Golub


The paper addresses the development of multilingual awareness of students in the fifth grade of primary school within the following language constellation L3 German after L2 English and L3 English after L2 German. The research focuses on two issues relating to the students’ ability to notice and verbalize cross-linguistic links in L3 – L2 – L1 systems. The research established that participants recognize, to a high degree, cross-lingual connections of the second foreign language (L3) with the first foreign language (L2) and the mother tongue (L1), and that the majority of students are able to verbalize them. What is more, a positive correlation has been established between noticing and explaining cross-lingual connections. The results show that 11-year-old students have the potential to develop elements of cross-linguistic and metalinguistic awareness based on which they can be exposed to systematic input directed towards developing multilingual awareness. Placing that finding in the context of previous research findings about the positive connectedness of the level of language awareness of multilinguals and their language competence, the paper discusses the need for introducing structured development of multilingual awareness into teaching third languages in primary school.


Key words: cross-linguistic awareness; metalinguistic awareness; primary language education; plurilingual competence; third language acquisition

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