Renate Kärchner-Ober


Multilingualism/multiple language learning/multilingual acquisition/third language acquisition(TLA)/L3-learning are terms to describe the process of the learning of languages after having acquired a first foreign language (L2). During the last two decades, studies on multiple language learning have grown at an exponential rate. Numerous studies with different research approaches and methods provided support for the hypothesis that TLA differs from second language acquisition (SLA) as it is significantly more complex and more linguistic and external factors are involved in TLA. Hence, this situation has implications for teachers, curriculum planners, language policy planners, researchers and the in multilingual classroom, in particular environments like Malaysia. In view of this it becomes obvious, that a) research within the SLA paradigm fails to explain processes of multiple language learning, and b) that models of language teaching have to be restructured in order to meet the facts of the multilingual reality of teaching environments in the 21st century. It is assumed that an efficient and successful language teaching and learning should consider these multilingual realities, which does not necessarily mean re—inventing the wheel but constantly monitoring developments in research and using the best possible approaches of language leaching. This is the only way that more recent findings of research can be communicated in a sustainable way to teachers and learners.





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