Faculté des lettres

The multilingual reader : advantages in understanding/decoding German sentence structure when reading German as an L3

Peyer, Elisabeth ; Kaiser, Irmtraud ; Berthele, Raphael

In: International Journal of Multilingualism

This study investigates Italian and French students' grammatical problems while reading in German as an L3 or L4. To achieve this aim, we developed a reading test which consists of encyclopaedia articles on imaginary animals. By way of these articles various grammatical structures were tested for their receptive difficulty. In this paper, the relationship between students' reading competence in... Plus

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    Summary
    This study investigates Italian and French students' grammatical problems while reading in German as an L3 or L4. To achieve this aim, we developed a reading test which consists of encyclopaedia articles on imaginary animals. By way of these articles various grammatical structures were tested for their receptive difficulty. In this paper, the relationship between students' reading competence in their other foreign languages (mostly English, French/Italian or Spanish) and their results on our German reading test will be discussed. Our results show that especially the less advanced readers of German profit from their English reading competence. With increasing competence in German, the influence of English decreases. Furthermore, correlations between the German reading test and students’ overall foreign language reading competence hint at possible advantages of being multilingual. Thus, we will try to explore in how far receptive competences in other foreign languages serve to compensate for weaknesses in the knowledge of the target language, hoping to complement existing research into reading in an L3.