The ERASMUS program was introduced (under a different name) in 1987 with the aim, among others, of furthering multilingualism (Coleman 1998). Given that this phenomenon was expected to be realized at an individual level, the aim of the program was clearly not merely multilingualism but, in fact, plurilingualism (Spolsky 2004) and, by implication, a program intended to strengthen the building at an individual level of the specialized knowledge that the learning of any second or foreign language requires. Recent research has shown, however, that the motivation of students whose disciplinary fields are not language or philology and who go to Denmark or Sweden on exchange does not necessarily lie in an interest in learning the official language of the host country (Caudery et al., 2008). On the basis of semi-structured individual interviews, picture description and basic vocabulary tests, this paper reports on a longitudinal study of 240 incoming non-language exchange students in Scandinavia. It analyses a few exceptional cases of students whose level of performance in the Scandinavian language of their host country was higher than the average performance of the cohort. The paper investigates the characteristics of these cases and, drawing on Hornberger's continua of biliteracy model, it relates them to factors arguably influencing the relative achievement of the aim of plurilingualism. In so doing, it seeks to contribute to our understanding of individuals' motives for reducing language knowledge asymmetries.
vidensasymmetri; motiver; læringsasymmetri; viden om sprog; udvekslingsstuderende; knowledge asymmetry; motives; learning asymmetry; language knowledge; exchange students
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XVII European Symposium on Languages for Specific Purposes. Methods and Aims - (Re-)Conceptualising LSP Research, 2009