An interlanguage is an emerging linguistic system that has been developed by a learner of a second language (or L2) who has not become fully proficient yet but is only approximating the target language: preserving some features of their first language (or L1) in speaking or writing the target language and creating innovations. An interlanguage is idiosyncratically based on the learners' experiences with the L2. It can fossilize in any of its developmental stages. The interlanguage consists of: L1 transfer, transfer of training, strategies of L2 learning (e.g.simplification), strategies of L2 communication (e.g. do not think about grammar while talking), and overgeneralization of the target language patterns.

Interlanguage is based on the theory that there is a "psychological structure latent in the brain" which is activated when one attempts to learn a second language. Larry Selinker proposed the theory of interlanguage in 1972, noting that in a given situation the utterances produced by the learner are different from those native speakers would produce had they attempted to convey the same meaning. This comparison reveals a separate linguistic system. This system can be observed when studying the utterances of the learners who attempt to produce a target language norm.

To study the psychological processes involved one should compare the interlanguage of the learner with two things:

#Utterances in the native language to convey the same message made by the learner
#Utterances in the target language to convey the same message made by the native speaker of that language.

Interlanguage yields new linguistic variety, as features from a group of speakers' L1 community may be integrated into a dialect of the speaker's L2 community. Interlanguage is in itself the basis for diversification of linguistic forms through an outside linguistic influence. Dialects formed by interlanguage are the product of a need to communicate between speakers with varying linguistic ability, and with increased interaction with a more standard dialect, are often marginalized or eliminated in favor of a standard dialect. In this way, interlanguage may be thought of as a temporary tool in language or dialect acquisition.

An interlanguage is also a language that is used by speakers of different languages in order to be able to mutually communicate. This can be a national language such as English, or an international auxiliary language such as Interlingua or Esperanto.

ee also

* Fremdsprachen und Hochschule
* Interlanguage fossilization


* J. C. Richards, Error Analysis: Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition, Longman Press, 1974, pp. 34-36.
* Chambers, J.K. (1995), Sociolinguistic Theory, Oxford, England: Blackwell; p249-251.

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  • interlanguage — UK [ˈɪntə(r)ˌlæŋɡwɪdʒ] / US [ˈɪntərˌlæŋɡwɪdʒ] noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms interlanguage : singular interlanguage plural interlanguages linguistics a mixture of two languages, especially one used by someone learning a new language,… …   English dictionary

  • interlanguage — /in teuhr lang gwij/, n. 1. a language created or used for international communication. 2. (in second language acquisition) the linguistic system characterizing the output of a nonnative speaker at any stage prior to full acquisition of the… …   Universalium

  • interlanguage — noun /ɪnˈtɜːɹˈlæŋɡwɪʤ/ a) A language created by students of a foreign language, incorporating aspects of their own language. b) A common language used by speakers of different languages. Syn: lingua franca …   Wiktionary

  • interlanguage — noun a language or form of language having features of two others, e.g. a pidgin …   English new terms dictionary

  • interlanguage — in·ter·language …   English syllables

  • interlanguage — /ˈɪntəˌlæŋgwɪdʒ/ (say intuh.langgwij) noun an interim and often divergent form of a language produced by someone learning it as a second language. {inter + language} …   Australian English dictionary

  • interlanguage — n. a language or use of language having features of two others, often a pidgin or dialect form …   Useful english dictionary

  • Interlanguage fossilization — In the process of mastering a target language (TL), second language learners (L2) develop a linguistic system that is self contained and different from both the learner’s first language (L1) and the TL (Nemser, 1971). This linguistic system has… …   Wikipedia

  • Second language acquisition — is the process by which people learn a second language in addition to their native language(s). The term second language is used to describe the acquisition of any language after the acquisition of the mother tongue. The language to be learned is …   Wikipedia

  • Interlingua — Not to be confused with Interlingue or Interlanguage. This article is about the auxiliary language created by the International Auxiliary Language Association. For other uses, see Interlingua (disambiguation). Interlingua Pronunciation… …   Wikipedia

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