Topics: Second language acquisition, Linguistics, Language acquisition Pages: 4 (922 words) Published: December 16, 2009

In the following summary of our presentation about interlanguage I will sum up the most important points while investigating the key aspects of the topic: First of all, a brief definition about the term “interlanguage” will be given and then a description of the reasons that cause the emergence of an interlanguage system. The third point will focus on the characteristics of interlanguage and central processes while acquiring it. Finally, a short conclusion will be given at the end of this paper.

1. What is interlanguage?

Among linguists, no exact, comprehensive and universally accepted definition of interlanguage exists. However, there is a broad consensus that the term refers to an intermediate grammatical system that is different from the L1 grammar as well as from the TL grammar.[1] The rules used by the learner are to be found in neither his own mother tongue, nor in the Target Language. It is a third language, with e.g. its own grammar and its own lexicon. This definition is based on Selinker’s definition of interlanguage. In his days he was so influential that even today his work plays a major role in the concept of interlanguage.

To explain the phenomenon of a “third language”, one can say that interlanguage is based on the concept of language transfer - the learner uses his or her own L1 as a resource. All learning is shaped by past activities, experiences and knowledge.

These concepts lead us to the second question:

2. What causes interlanguage?

We can say that L1 rules and principles work like a ‘sieve’[2] for the second language and create interlanguage. Only exposure to TL (experience) is going to cause the holes in the sieve to enlarge so that second language will be produced accurately.

An example of this can be made by comparing Czech and English. One difference is that in Czech [b], [d], [g], [v] become voiceless word-finally (as in koráb [p], neřád [t], konev [f]). However, this is not the case in English...

Bibliography: Books:
Ellis, Rod (1994): The study of Second Language Acquisition
Ortega, L. (2009): Chapter 6: Development of learner language. Understanding second
language acquisition (110-144)
Saville-Troike, Muriel (2006): Introducing second language acquisition. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Selinker, Larry (1972): Interlanguage. IRAL 10, 209-231.
Trubetzkoy, N. S. Principles of Phonology. Univ of California Pr, 1969.
24 Jan. 2009 .
[2] N.S.Trubetzkoy, Principles of Phonology, 1939:51f
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