This paper describes the preliminary findings of a pilot study conducted in 2017 that in- vestigated metalinguistic awareness among university-level English as a foreign language (EFL) learners. In the study, the English version of the Metalinguistic Awareness Test-2 (MAT-2; Pinto, Titone and Trusso 1999), a standardised test for the measurement of metalinguistic ability in the L1, was adapted for and piloted with undergraduate English language learners at the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale.’ The administration of the adapted measure to 113 participants was followed by interviews during which student dyads (n = 16) responded to and discussed selected items from the adapted MAT-2. With a focus on the findings related to acceptability, this paper first describes the metalinguistic awareness in English based on the quantitative analysis of the responses to a selection of prompts that were included in the adapted version of the MAT-2 across the full sample of participants. Then, it cites excerpts of interview interactions to illustrate the ways in which EFL learners express their awareness and construct understandings of acceptability while performing consciousness-raising tasks. The implications of these preliminary findings on language acquisition, language ownership, and language proficiency will be discussed.
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