Monitoring of Reading Comprehension Across the First, Second, and Third Language: Domain-General or Language-Specific?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the monitoring abilities of trilinguals in reading comprehension, addressing the following questions: Is comprehension monitoring related to reading comprehension across first, second, and third languages? Is comprehension monitoring shared across the languages of trilingual adults (domain-general) or rather linked to language proficiency (language-specific)? Eighty undergraduates, trilingual in Arabic, Hebrew, and English, read three texts in each language, answered multiple-choice questions, and rated their confidence in their responses. From this we derived the absolute and relative accuracy of monitoring. The results showed links between accurate monitoring and successful comprehension in all the languages of participants, but these were weaker in English, the least proficient language. Further, the results lend some support to the involvement of both domain-general and language-specific processes in comprehension monitoring. Specifically, monitoring seems to be utilized similarly by individuals to support comprehension across the first and second languages, but is less well generalized to the third language.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-922
Number of pages37
JournalLanguage Learning
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grant number 1094/14 from the Israeli Science Foundation to AP, by a research grant from the Arabic Language Academy to AP and YSA, and by the Edmond J. Safra Brain Research Center for the Study of Learning Disabilities. RS was supported by the Otto Werner Excellence Scholarship from The Jewish‐Arab Center at the University of Haifa. The authors wish to thank Dr Nachshon Korem for assistance in data analyses, and five anonymous reviewers for comments on a previous version of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Language Learning Research Club, University of Michigan


  • bilingual
  • calibration
  • comprehension monitoring
  • domain-general
  • foreign language
  • multilingual
  • reading comprehension
  • second language
  • third language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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