Interlanguage as an Outcome of Bilingual Systems in Contact

Longxing Wei


Most previous studies of interlanguage regarded commonly observed learner errors as a universal or developmental phenomenon and related language transfer in second language learning to the developing interlanguage system itself. Though language transfer is often defined as one of the processes responsible for interlanguage, the relationship and interaction between the learner’s first language and the target language is largely ignored. This study assumes that any interlanguage system is “composite” in nature because in second language learning several linguistic systems come into contact, and each contributes different amounts to the developing interlanguage system. It further assumes that the bilingual mental lexicon contains abstract elements called “lemmas” about individual lexemes, and lemmas in the bilingual mental lexicon are language-specific and are in contact in interlanguage production. Based on some research findings, this study concludes that language transfer or learner errors in interlanguage production should be understood as lemma transfer of the learner’s first language abstract lexical structure; the developing interlanguage system is driven by an incompletely acquired abstract lexical structure of a target language item. This study treats interlanguage as an outcome of bilingual systems in contact at a rather abstract level to provide an explanatory account of second language acquisition.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Longxing Wei

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright © SCHOLINK INC.   ISSN 2573-6434 (Print)    ISSN 2573-6426 (Online)