Analyzing and assessing linguistic multicompetence (AALM)

The research group comprises expertise under the broad category of language studies, including more specifically linguistics, second/foreign language acquisition (SLA/FLA), multilingualism and translation studies.

The scholars participating in the group share a common starting point in empirical studies of bi-/multilingual language production and in the development of research methods.

The overarching goals of this research group are to provide empirical studies of linguistic multicompetence, to investigate its manifestation in a range of production modes, and to relate these findings to applied settings, i.e. language teaching and/or translation and interpreting.

Linguistic multicompetence

Linguistic multicompetence (multicompetence for short), is the knowledge of more than one language or language variety in the mind of a language user. Multicompetence is part of the individual capacity of a person and is shaped by and develops in interaction with his or her social or educational environment.

Multicompetent individuals make use of their total linguistic repertoire when interacting within a range of linguistic settings, including both multilingual and monolingual situations. Linguistic multicompetence, then, is dynamic and evolving, and is at the same time a tool and a state. It relates to the complex, flexible, integrative, and adaptable behaviour which multilingual individuals display.

A multicompetent person is therefore an individual with knowledge of an extended and integrated linguistic repertoire who is able to use a range of linguistic varieties for the appropriate occasion (building on Franceschini, 2011: 351).

Multicompetence is not a second language acquisition theory, but a perspective on the competence and use of more than one language or language variety, emphasizing that:

  • a multilingual individual possesses a dynamic competence which is more than the sum of his or her competence in L1s + the competence in L2, L3 etc.
  • the different language competences in an individual work together and affect each other in creative ways
  • an individual’s multicompetence does not imply equal proficiency in the different languages or language varieties.

Ongoing projects

Head of research group

Associate Professor
Department of Language, Literature, Mathematics and Interpreting


AALM currently collaborates with HVL’s research group RETELL and UiB’s Multilingualism on my mind (MoM). 

This research group is a part of the research program Languages, communication and learning.