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Didactic challenges in the multilingual classroom—the case of French as a foreign language

Chapter in book
Authors Christina Lindqvist
Published in Cross-Linguistic Influence: From Empirical Evidence to Classroom Practice / M. Juncal Gutierrez-Mangado, María Martínez-Adrián, Francisco Gallardo-del-Puerto (editors).
Pages 87-99
ISBN 978-3-030-22065-5
ISSN 2193-7648
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Cham
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Pages 87-99
Language en
Keywords Cross-linguistic influence, L3 French, Multilingual classroom, Written production
Subject categories Romance languages


The present study explores the multilingualism of Swedish learners of French. More specifically, it looks at the use of multiple languages, manifested as lexical and grammatical cross-linguistic influence, in written retellings by Swedish pupils aged 12–16 (N = 105). In Sweden, formal learning of French in school starts in grade 6 or 7, that is around 3 years after the start of the formal learning of English. Thus, in this respect, French can be considered as a third language (L3) for most Swedish pupils. In addition to that, many pupils also study other foreign languages, usually Spanish or German, which means that they undergo learning processes in several languages simultaneously. Moreover, nowadays it is common for pupils to have knowledge of yet other languages spoken at home. Thus, it is clear that the learning of French by Swedish learners usually takes place under multilingual circumstances and therefore it can constantly be affected by other languages. While the participants in the present study all have Swedish as their L1, they know many other languages, to various degrees. The results show that some of these languages, especially those learned formally in school, are used when pupils write in French. The didactic implications of these results are discussed. What are the challenges for language teachers in multilingual classrooms, at present and in the future?.

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