ESL Term:


ESL/EFL Glossary: A Guide to applied linguistics terminology.


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interlanguage: In the process of acquiring a second language, a language learner may acquire forms of language that are in between their first language and their target language.  This can happen when, for example, they incorrectly apply rules of their native language to the target language, or they have not completely learned the full extent or limitations of a rule's use and so misapply it systematically.

Interlanguage may seem completely logical and correct in the mind of a language learner.  It may also be a part of a natural learning process where rules get more refined as more input is received. However, if learners fail to receive corrective feedback, these interlanguage forms may fossilize.