Cross-Linguistic Transfer

Transfer is important in all learning, but it is especially important in language learning contexts. It is in learning a new language that language transfer is most evident and critical, as those seeking to learn a new language apply what they already know about language in their first language to help them in their pursuit of developing high levels of language proficiency and literacy in the new language.

An essential instructional task for teachers in a biliteracy learning context is to explicitly and intentionally develop students’ metalinguistic awareness of how to utilize language and literacy universals through the process of cross-linguistic transfer.

  • Transfer of language is a process that occurs in learning a new language as the learner applies the language universals from the known language to the new language for communicative purposes.
  • Transfer of literacy is a process that takes place as the learners apply literacy universals from the known language to the new language as they learn to read and write in both languages.