Keynote Speakers


is Professor of Education at the University of the Basque Country. Her research focuses bilingualism and multilingualism in education. She is a member of the editorial board of ‘the International Journal of Multilingualism’. She has published extensively in international journals and has edited in collaboration with other colleagues several books on bilingualism and multilingualism. Her most recent books are 'Towards Multilingual Education” (2009, Multilingual Matters) and The Multiple Realities of Multilingualism (with Elka Todeva, 2009, Mouton de Gruyter). She is also the Coordinator of Education of the National Assessment and Planning Agency (Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology) and has been publications coordinator of AILA.

The development of metalinguistic awareness through translanguaging in third language acquisition

Third language acquisition is a complex phenomenon which is influence by a number of individual and contextual factors. One of these factors is bilingualism and its positive influence on third language acquisition has been reported in several studies (see for example (Safont, 2005; Cenoz, 2013; Antoniou et al., 2015). The positive effect of bilingualism on the acquisition of a third language has been associated with the development of metalinguistic awareness (Jessner, 2008; Falk, Lindqvist & Bardel, 2015). In this presentation I will discuss the concept of metalinguistic awareness as related to third language acquisition and I will focus on the role of pedagogical translanguaging to enhance metalinguistic awareness and vocabulary knowledge in the acquisition of English as a third language. Pedagogical translanguaging refers to “pedagogical strategies used to learn languages based on the learners’ whole linguistic repertoire” (Cenoz & Gorter, 2017: 314). I will argue that promoting the use of resources from the whole linguistic repertoire can stimulate the development of metalinguistic awareness and contribute to benefitting to a greater extent from advantages associated with bilingualism in third language acquisition.


is Professor in multilingualism at the University of Fribourg. He directs the MA programmes in Multilingualism studies and in foreign language didactics and co-founded the Fribourg Institute of Multilingualism in 2008. His research interests cover different areas from cognitive to social aspects of multilingualism. During the last years, he has been focusing on the empirical investigation of receptive multilingualism and on convergence phenomena in the semantic and syntactic patterns in linguistic reference to space in multilinguals.

On positive transfer and interdependence

Theories of third language acquisition often involve claims regarding the beneficial role that pre-acquired languages play in the process of developing an additional language. In this talk, I review evidence from a series of studies that investigate such claims.

First, I identify factors affecting the recognition of formally similar lexical material in an otherwise unknown language. In addition to the languages previously learnt, other aspects such as age and intelligence are considered.

In a second part of the talk, I draw on large-scale studies that investigate the role of linguistic proximity between source and target languages for additional language learning, either with respect to the acquisition of the local language in an immigration context or with respect to the learning of a foreign language at school.

In a third step, I discuss studies that investigate manifestations of interdependence in the multilingual acquisition of academic language skills.

In the concluding remarks I identify findings that seem robust and in line with widely shared theoretical claims, as well as findings that seem to contradict them. Furthermore, I compare the findings from linguistic transfer to other types of transfer in the scholarly investigation of learning.


is a Professor at the University of Arizona, where she also directs the Portuguese Language Program. She works with languages in contact, and is especially interested in patterns that evolve in situations of contact between cognate languages, such as Spanish and Portuguese. She has done extensive ethnographic work in Spanish-Portuguese bilingual communities on the Uruguayan-Brazilian border, where she has explored issues of variation and change, language choice, policies and attitudes. Besides analyzing the linguistic behavior of stable bilinguals, she is also concerned with the ways that similar languages interact in contexts of acquisition (e.g. Spanish speakers learning Portuguese) and attrition (e.g. Brazilian immigrants in Madrid).

Teaching cognate languages in higher education: The case of Portuguese for Spanish-speakers

A significant proportion of college students in the United States have Spanish in their linguistic repertoire. Several language programs capitalize on these students’ bilingual skills to offer them the opportunity to develop proficiency in additional languages, especially cognate systems that can be acquired faster, such as French, Italian, and Portuguese. In this presentation, I discuss the main premises that are considered in the curriculum designed to teach Portuguese for Spanish speakers in educational settings in the United States. I then turn to research that points to differences in the acquisition process of learners who speak Spanish as their first, second, or heritage language, and problematize the assumption that they make up a homogeneous group with similar pedagogical needs.