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Spanish as a Pivot Language for Third Language Learning in the United States

ABSTRACT: On college campuses throughout the United States, classes for decades have been offered to help Spanish speakers learn Portuguese, augmented recently by similar courses in Italian, French, and Catalan. Though there exist numerous commonalities between these innovative course offerings, the pivotal role of Spanish stands out. This essay therefore introduces the concept of a pivot language: a widely spoken second language leveraged through explicit instruction to facilitate the learning of a related third language (L3). It is suggested that in an increasingly multilingual country, this trend of taking into account students’ prior linguistic knowledge points to where language teaching is headed.

CLICK HERE to read the entire article with a response from Clorinda Donato (California State University, Long Beach).

Comment below to join the global conversation on each batch of essays published in the Hispania Centenary Issue. You are invited to visit the site regularly, as new topics will posted each week.

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