Talk Title: Examining the effects of third language (L3) acquisition on existing languages to inform the constitution of first language (L1) versus second language (L2) systems
Abstract: The growth of the field of third language (L3) acquisition is due in large part to the focus on the influence of a learner’s first language (L1) and second language (L2) in L3 developmental processes and the variables that modulate these processes. However, there is growing interest in how these variables in turn determine how the acquisition of an L3 affects the L1 and/or L2 and what these patterns might tell us about the nature of an L1 versus L2. Using L1 attrition research as a point of theoretical and methodological departure, this talk centers on a research question that is central to attrition in L3 acquisition (i.e., L3 effects on the L2 and/or L1): In what ways does an L3 affect an L2 (quantitatively and qualitatively) differently than an L1? After an overview of existing research, I set forth some key considerations for modeling attrition in L3 acquisition and outline a proposed methodological framework that highlights the need to draw further from experimental approaches used in L1 attrition as a complement to L3-specific methods.