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Linguistic Awareness in Multilinguals

English as a Third Language

Ulrike Jessner

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This book discusses cognitive and psycholinguistic aspects of third language acquisition and trilingualism, and explores the key role of linguistic awareness in multilingual proficiency and language learning. In view of the widespread acquisition of English by those who are already bilingual or are also acquiring a regional lingua franca this study will contribute to the current discussion of multilingualism with English in Europe and beyond, as well as the understanding of multilingual speech processing. The author supports a dynamic view of multilingualism by stressing the cognitive advantages that the contact with more languages can offer and uses this approach as the basis for future language teaching and learning. Chapters cover topics such as performing in a third language, metalinguistic awareness in multilinguals and in multilingual education, and English as a third language in Europe.

Key Features:

  • The first study of the important role metalinguistic awareness plays in multilingual proficiency
  • Includes a unique comparison of both second and third language acquisition
  • Useful for students and scholars of applied linguistics, language education, language planning, psycholinguistics, cognitive linguistics and the study of the English language.


1. Introduction
2. Multilingualism with English
3. Learning and Using a Third Language
4. On the Nature of Linguistic Awareness
5. Exploring Linguistic Awareness in Third Language Use
6. Crystallizing Linguistic Awareness in Multilingual Education
7. Conclusion.

About the Author

Ulrike Jessner is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.


This well-informed, systematic volume will be of importance to researchers, practicing teachers, students, and all whose interests include multilingualism, cognitive aspects of language acquisition, language processing in multilinguals, and metalinguistic awareness.
- Larissa Aronin, International Journal of Applied Linguistics
Ulrike Jessner is a leading scholar in the field of multilingualism and third language acquisition. Her book’s major asset lies in its interdisciplinary approach and concentration on metalinguistic awareness as an emerging property of multilingual proficiency. The book is clear, amazingly informative and documented
- Danièle Moore, Simon Fraser University, and Directeur de recherche, Sorbonne
This volume should be on the shelf of every researcher interested in L3 acquisition. Jessner has done an exceptional job of creating a volume that focuses on the impending issues of the rapidly growing field...
- Amy Thompson, Studies in Second Language Acquisition
The new book contains an extensive discussion of third language acquisition and the nature of linguistic awareness... Jessner shows an impressive overview of the field, covering also brand-new works.
- Björn Hammarberg, University of Stockholm
This an excellent introduction into linguistic awareness research and into the complexities of multilingualism in general. The book is reader-friendly: each chapter begins with an overview of the following discussion; the results of analysis are explicitly stated [and] throughout the book, terminology specific to studies on third language studies is explained where used, which makes the book very accessible for students.
- Anastassia Zabrodskaja, Tallinn University, Estonia, LINGUIST list
It’s a terrific piece of work - so comprehensive, with new insights and very, very clear. It will become a landmark in research for all interested in metalinguistic awareness.
- Muiris O'Laoire, Institute of Technology Tralee