Standard Article

Crosslinguistic Influence in Second Language Acquisition

  1. Terence Odlin

Published Online: 5 NOV 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0292

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

How to Cite

Odlin, T. 2012. Crosslinguistic Influence in Second Language Acquisition. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2012


The phrase crosslinguistic influence (CLI) is roughly synonymous with other terms, most notably language transfer and interference, in that all refer to the influence of one language upon another, most typically in cases of second language acquisition (SLA). These terms continue to be used widely, but in each case the expression is really a cover term for a wide range of phenomena. For that reason, secondary terms are often used, such as positive transfer to refer to the facilitating effects of one language in acquiring another (e.g., of Spanish vocabulary in acquiring French) and negative transfer to refer to divergences due to some differences between the target language and a source language (most typically the native language of the learner). Still another cover term often used is substrate influence, but this is found mainly in historical or sociolinguistic studies of language contact, such as work on the influence of certain African languages on the development of creoles in Surinam (Migge, 2003).


  • constraint;
  • inference;
  • transfer