Participants: Kenneth Hyltenstam (program director), Inge Bartning och Lars Fant
Funded by: The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation


It aims at taking a decisive step forward in the understanding of the cognitive and psycholinguistic, linguistic-structural, and socio-psychological and societal conditions that, on the one hand, allow language learners to attain such outstanding levels in a second language, and, on the other hand, what constraints prevent them from going all the way and become entirely like first language speakers.

In brief, the focus of the research programme is on second language users who approach, brush against, or, indeed, reach the borderland where the two categories of second and first language users of a language cease to be distinguishable. The focus on high level proficiencies in a second language is strongly motivated by current developments in second language acquisition (SLA) theory. As will be seen below, the last phase of successful second language acquisition is actually the one that is least well understood, while, at the same time, the searchlight has begun to be directed towards the issues implicated at this level.

Research dissemination and net-working

Conferences (262 Kb)

Presentations (464 Kb)

Research diffusion outside academia (416 Kb)

Final report and list of publications

Final report (in English) (493 Kb)

Final report (in Swedish) (488 Kb)

Publications (309 Kb)


Program director: Kenneth Hyltenstam

Steering committée:

Kenneth Hyltenstam, Professor, Centre for Research on Bilingualism

Inge Bartning, Professor, Dept. of French, Italian and Classical Languages

Lars Fant, Professor, Dept. of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies