The Effect of Limburgish Bidialectalism on Third Language Acquisition: A Study at Secondary Education

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This thesis examines the effect of (Dutch-)Limburgish bidialectalism, speaking both the standard and an indigenous variety of a language, on the acquisition of third language grammar. Previous research on bilingualism, a phenomenon related to bidialectalism, has found that bilingualism positively influences third language acquisition (TLA). Research into bidialectalism’s effect on TLA has been limited. Though bidialectalism’s effect on the first language is positive, it is unknown whether this occurs in TLA as well. This leads to the following question: how does Limburgish bidialectalism influence the acquisition L3 English grammar? First-year pre-university education secondary school students were tested using a grammar test focused on the Present Continuous/Simple, and a questionnaire measuring language exposure and language background. It was hypothesized that bidialectal speakers would have higher grammar scores than the monolingual group, and that an effect would occur for the degree of bidialectalism (how often a bidialectal uses Limburgish). The results indicated that the bidialectal group had significantly higher grammar scores than the monolingual group. However, no significant difference could be found between frequent dialect users and less frequent dialect users. It is concluded that Limburgish bidialectalism may have a positive effect on the acquisition of this particular grammatical aspect in English.
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