Aleksandra Branislav Šuvaković

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The purpose of this paper is to point out the importance of learning several foreign languages at an early age, creating a solid basis for lexical competence which would in the next phase develop into linguistic, and finally into communicative competence. We will point out the theoretical basis of learning a lexicon of a foreign language, but also in what manner the mother tongue may influence this process and how. The results presented in the paper are a product of a two-year empirical research – a case study. The set goal has conditioned two hypotheses that we have confirmed, and which relate to achievements in lexical competence in a foreign language and a transfer that the mother tongue can cause. Analyzing the results, we concluded that an early exposure to foreign languages simultaneously enriches the lexical fund of both the mother tongue and all other languages known to the learner, in our case, the Italian language. In addition, learning foreign languages early, by developing lexical competence in the first place, leads to an improvement of cognitive characteristics of younger learners, the development of divergent thinking, acculturation and openness to new knowledge.


mother tongue, foreign language, lexical competence, younger learners, early learning.

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