Sociolinguistic Studies, Estudios de Sociolingüística 1.1 2000

Bilingual and trilingual competence: Problems of description and differentiation

Charlotte Hoffmann
Issued Date: 5 Mar 2007


Research into child bilingualism over the last twenty years has yielded a considerable amount of data and opened possible new ways for its description as well as theoretical approaches. Most studies have been concerned with bilingualism. Trilingualism has received much less specific attention. Sometimes authors acknowledge the existence of trilingualism with additions such as "two or more languages", but only rarely have attempts been made to contrast the phenomena of bilingualism and trilingualism. The aim of this paper is to investigate linguistic competence in trilingual children in terms of how it manifests itself and how it can be explained. The paper will examine certain aspects of this issue which are related to the establishment and manifestation of bilingual and trilingual competence, such as language awareness, language choice and language mixing. It will also consider some strategies of language use such as code-switching and translation on the one hand, and certain learning strategies on the other.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v1i1.83


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