The Association of Multilingualism with English Language Proficiency: The Role of Metalinguistic Awareness

  • Wodajo Kassaye Tadesse
  • Getachew Seyoum Woldemariam
  • Temesgen Mereba Dobech
Keywords: L3 proficiency; Local languages; Metalinguistic awareness; Monolinguals; Multilinguals

Abstract

This study investigated the association of multilingualism with English language proficiency in terms of the role of metalinguistic awareness in the context of multilingual second year undergraduate students of Hawassa University, Ethiopia. The study employed a correlational mixed design with 39 multilingual and 30 monolingual students using comprehensive sampling. The quantitative data were collected from both groups using proficiency test while the qualitative data were collected only from 15 multilingual students using semi-structured interview. To analyze the data obtained from the proficiency test, the mean, variance and standard deviation were used. In addition, the mean results of the multilingual and monolingual participants were compared using independent sample t-test. The two-tailed Pearson Correlation was also employed to find out the association of multilingualism with the multilinguals’ English language proficiency. The results of the study revealed that the multilingual participants were more proficient than the monolinguals in English language because of their metalinguistic awareness. Finally, the study suggested that the Department of English Language, instructors and students of Hawassa University should work hand-in-hand to implement a multilingual pedagogical approach in the classroom so that the students would get maximum benefit from their prior languages during English language learning.

Author Biographies

Wodajo Kassaye Tadesse

Jimma University, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Department of English Language and Literature

Getachew Seyoum Woldemariam

Jimma University, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Department of English Language and Literature

Temesgen Mereba Dobech

Jimma University, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Department of English Language and Literature

Published
2021-12-14
Section
Articles