Volume 59, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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There has been a long tradition of concern with the "good language learner" in L2 research. One approach to this topic is to compare the performance of experienced language learners with people who have had less experience with languages. The present study provides comparable data for second- and third-language learners of English. It is hypothesized that L3 learners of English will learn the language with more facility and perhaps with more proficiency than L2 learners of English. The data was collected in two high schools in Amsterdam, where 30 immigrant (L3 learners) and 30 Dutch (L2 learners) students were tested on their knowledge of English with a C-test. They also gave answers to some questions about their personal status and language abilities. The scores were submitted to statistical analysis to test whether or not there was any significant difference between the groups. The statistical test chosen was the T-test for independent groups. The tests were first scored through exact scoring. Once the T-test was applied to both sets of scores (monolinguals and bilinguals), it turned out that the bilinguals scored significantly better than the monolinguals. The answers to the questionnaire were also investigated to find any correlations with the results in the C-test. In addition, the tests were scored through acceptable scoring, which, although no longer significant, still showed the superiority of the immigrant-bilinguals. The hypothesis was confirmed: the assumed superiority of bilinguals in acquiring languages is also found in the immigrant-bilinguals who took part in this study. Despite the negative effects of some of the socio-economic-educational factors affecting the performance of ethnic minority students in Holland, they still have a better aptitude for learning a third language.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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