What is the best current term to use in PhD thesis: is it foreign language or second language

I would like the writer to write about what is the best current term to use in my PhD thesis: is it foreign language or second language? My participants are foreigners living in Malta and they are learning Maltese which is the native language and the official language of Maltese people, together with English, as we are ‘bilingual’. So are my participants learning Maltese as a foreign language or as a second language please as they are surrounded by people talking in Maltese language? I would like the writer to write a literature review to support the term that s/he would use in this particular case, considering the environment and the fact that most of the participants are studying Maltese as a 3rd, 4th or 5th language and hence not as their 2nd language. The participants are coming from different parts of the world and hence they definitely know their native language (example: Polish or Russian or Chinese or German, etc), and they know English. Thank you!

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