inter- +‎ language. In the language acquisition sense introduced by Larry Selinker in 1972.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ɪnˈtɜɹˈlæŋɡwɪd͡ʒ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æŋɡwɪdʒ


interlanguage (plural interlanguages)

  1. A language generated by a student of an additional language that incorporates aspects of their native language and the target language
    Trasyanka and Surzhyk are interlanguages: a Belarusian–Russian and a Ukrainian-Russian mixed language.
    • 2011, Anna Trosborg, Interlanguage Pragmatics: Requests, Complaints, and Apologies, Walter de Gruyter, →ISBN, page 54:
      The learner's selection from his/her store of interlanguage rules is not haphazard but systematic and predictable, based as it is on his/her existing rule system in much the same way as the native speaker bases his/her speech on the internalized knowledge of the L1 system.
  2. A lingua franca, a common language used by speakers of different languages
    Synonyms: koine, lingua franca
    Latin used to be the European interlanguage. Currently English widely serves this purpose.
    • 2011 October 28, Adam Thirlwell, “The Joyful Side of Translation”, in The New York Times[1], ISSN 0362-4331:
      As [David] Bellos points out, those born as English speakers are now a minority of English speakers: most speak it as a ­second language. English is the world’s biggest interlanguage.
  3. A pidgin or creole

Related termsEdit


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