Working Papers in TESOL&Applied Linguistics

Commentaries on the Multicompetence Model in L2 Acquisition

Editor: Charles Combs

At the SLRF 2005 conference held here at Teachers College, we had the pleasure to host Professor Vivian Cook, who delivered a thought-provoking plenary speech entitled Multicompetence: Black-hole or Worm-hole? In the speech, Cook outlined a fairly convincing case for examining non-native speakers of English as being possessors of markedly different minds than English monolingual speakers. Because much research to date has compared English L2 learners with native monolingual speakers, Cook (1992) asserted that this is not an accurate reflection of the L2 (or L3) learners' abilities. He further argued that L2/L3 learners should be viewed independently as unique multicompetent individuals rather than deficient native speakers. In this edition of the Forum, we have four separate pieces which take up various aspects of Cook's model. K. Philip Choong looks at Cook's work from a language teaching perspective. In the second piece, Erica Won-Jing Lowe examines current research done on L1 attrition in light of Cook's multicompetence model. Ingrid Heidrick looks into current models of multilingual transfer and the multicompetence model. Finally, Yeu-Ting Liu looks at multicompetence from the perspective of L2 ultimate attainment. Taken together they should provide the reader with an enlightening entrée into the many implications of Cook's thought.


Cook, V. (1992). Evidence for multicompetence. Language Learning, 42, 557-591.
Cook, V. (2005, October). Multicompetence: Black-hole or Worm-hole? Plenary speech presented at
  the Second Language Research Forum, New York City, NY


Multicompetence and Second Language Teaching

K. Philip Choong

Multicompetence and First Language Attrition: Where Do We Draw the Line?

Erica Won-Jing Lowe

Beyond the L2: How Is Transfer Affected by Multilingualism?

Ingrid Heidrick

Specifying the Norms of Successful L2 Users for Developing Theories on the Learning Potential in SLA

Yeu-Ting Liu


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