Second Language Transfer in Third Language Acquisition: An Empirical Study of Chinese English Majors Learning German as Third Language

Abstract

Guided by the theory of language transfer, this paper examines the transfer of English (second language) in the early stages of the acquisition of German (third language) by Chinese English majors. The results reveal that English has both positive and negative effects on German acquisition, especially on German pronunciation, vocabulary and sentence learning. On the basis of these findings, some suggestions are also put forward in order to improve the efficiency of third language (German) teaching, namely, English-as-a-vehicular-language teaching, contrastive teaching and corpus-based teaching.