A Processability Approach to Instructed Language Learning in Multilingual Contexts
Developmental Stages from a Receptive Competence Perspective
Existing research indicates a qualitative difference between Second Language Learning and Third Language Acquisition, and certain psycholinguistic and developmental aspects of multilingual learners merit investigation. The present article examines stages in receptive learner acquisition of English as a Third Language at Italian medium primary schools in South Tyrol (Italy) employing a picture selection task and implicational scaling analysis. It highlights the role that processing approaches to acquisition proposing constraints on developmental readiness and cross-linguistic influence may play in the emergence of receptive competence in morphosyntactic structures.
Keywords: Third Language Acquisition • Processability Theory • Receptive competence • Teachability Hypothesis • Developmentally Moderated Transfer Hypothesis • Multilingualism