Non-instructional third language acquisition of foreign students in an International Classroom
M. Gaisch - Non-instructional third language acquisition of foreign students in an International Classroom - Teaching, Acquiring and Applying Intercultural Competence, Linz, Austria, 2012, pp. 183-197
Language plays a crucial role in gaining proficiency in the host country, in successful integration of foreigners in general, and of international students in particular. However, the spread of English as a lingua franca (ELF) in tertiary education limits the need for third language acquisition (TLA) and, as a result, endangers the enhancement of cross-cultural competence. Research on third and additional language acquisition, on language awareness (Jessner 2009), on cross-linguistic similarities (Ringbom 2007), on multilingual education (Cenoz et al 2001) and on language attitudes in Europe reflects the idea that both language capital acquisition and intercultural sensibilities are enhanced through continuous contact to the local society, its cultural and linguistic patterns. This article, however, explores if foreign Master students taking a degree in Austria acquire German as a third language in an International Classroom without any instructional settings. Most publications dealing with third language (L3) acquisition focus on the learning process of the language, but so far, none include the field of adult L3 acquisition in tertiary education in a non-instructional setting. In this paper evidence is provided that L3 transfer is selective, however, influenced by the typological proximity of the target language, the cultural distance between the speakers and the prestige of the target language.