A case study of inter-linguistic interference in the conditions of educational multilinguism


The article analyses the influence of inter-linguistic interference on the formation of the inter-language and the intermediate speech code in artificial multilinguals based on the assumption of the integrity of human language mentality. Basic mechanisms of conceptualization and denotation of reality, generation and perception of speech and social communication models are formed in early childhood and are mediated by the native language. When learning a new language, we employ the same mechanisms, just developing, enriching and partially transforming them. Therefore, we propose explain interference as a universal tool for organizing the language mentality of a multilingual person. In the case of subordinate bilingualism, language mentality is poorly differentiated, various elements of different language systems and speech codes clearly tend to intermingle. The speech, therefore, forms an actual common set of models (frames), passing on, more or less freely, from one language to another.

The article describes a case study aimed to identify which factors affect the actualization of a particular frame. Our research into the aspects of interaction between three languages (Russian, English and French) in the learners’ language mentality has led us to the conclusion that an interfering influence of the native language on the choice of the speech model does not always dominate. Structural similarity between the native and first foreign languages creates a cumulative effect enhancing interference. The first foreign language interference does not always result in straight replication, but rather motivates the speaker’s search for a similar “universal” operator in the second foreign language. The hypothesis of a weak interference potential of the zero operator was experimentally confirmed. Thus, the most important principle of constructing the inter-language is the explicit expression of relations between the system elements.

Such need for simple, explicit, unambiguous ways of expressing relations and universality of the chosen models makes it possible to draw a parallel between the inter-language and the artificial language.

Key words: 

bilingualism, multilingualism, inter-language, intermediate language code, interference.

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