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Third Language Acquisition and Universal Grammar Edited by: Yan-kit Ingrid Leung

Hardback - 240 pages
16 Jan 2009
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156 (R8vo)


This volume presents studies which approach the relatively new field of third language (L3) acquisition from the generative linguistic perspective. It aims to bring together researchers who are interested in L3 acquisition and who are at the same time working within the generative framework i.e. Chomskyís Universal Grammar (UG) approach to language acquisition. A total of nine contributions are included, reporting research on L3 involving different combinations of source/target languages and investigating various UG-related properties.


Leung’s volume makes an important contribution to the dynamic, fast-growing field of third language acquisition, showcasing state of the art research and presenting a bird’s eye view of the challenging research agenda. The papers show how the acquisition of third language competence poses new theoretical and empirical puzzles that can be described and explained in interesting ways. The transfer phenomena given rise by the interaction of typologically diverse combinations of L1-L2-L3 are reminiscent of parallel cases in the mother field of second language acquisition, but with the variables and complexity greatly multiplied. The volume is sure to inspire further studies in the field.
Virginia Yip, Chinese University of Hong Kong

A pioneer in the theoretical study of third language acquisition and interlanguage transfer, Ingrid Leung presents a series of original studies from diverse theoretical perspectives, ranging from typology to Universal Grammar and multicompetence. Featuring interesting three-way interactions between European and Asian languages, the studies offer an intriguing taste of the findings beginning to emerge in this rapidly developing field.
Stephen Matthews, University of Hong Kong

Author Biography:

Yan-kit Ingrid Leung received her PhD in linguistics from McGill University in Canada. She has taught at the linguistic departments at the University of Southern California, USA and the University of Essex, UK. She is interested in second and especially third language acquisition, as well as bilingualism/multilingualism. Her research has focused on East Asian and Southeast Asian learners. She is currently affiliated with the University of Hong Kong.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate Research / Professional

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