Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Age differences in first language attrition: A maturational constraints perspective
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
Responsible organisation
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates age-related differences in first language (L1) attrition in a second language (L2) setting. The thesis is based on four individual studies. The aim of each of the studies has been to examine aspects of age differences that to date have remained in the background of attrition research: Study I gives an overview of research on age differences in L1 attrition and suggests a reinterpretation of age effects in attrition, using as a point of departure critical period constructs. Study I also formulates hypotheses regarding the contour and timing of attrition susceptibility and its interplay with non-biological factors. Study II investigates L1 residual knowledge and L2 ultimate attainment in international adoptees. The results suggest that a) that L1 remnants may be found if relearning activities have taken place prior to testing; b) L2 learners who have experienced a complete cut-off in L1 contact do not attain higher L2 proficiency levels than learners who have stayed in contact with the L1. The results also indicate that the level of L1 reactivation and L2 ultimate attainment are related to age of adoption. Study III examines age effects on the retention of L1 event construal patterns. The results show that the onset of puberty is a turning point for the degree of conformity with native behaviour, i.e. those who arrived in the L2 setting before puberty were more likely to exhibit non-converging patterns than those who arrived after puberty. This finding suggests that in attrition conceptual proficiency is equally affected by age as are formal language skills. Finally, Study IV explores the role of language aptitude in prepubescent attriters. The results show that nativelike grammatical intuitions are connected to language aptitude, and that speakers with high levels of language aptitude rely less on L1 contact than do speakers with low levels of language aptitude in their retention of nativelike grammatical intuitions in the L1.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Centrum för tvåspråkighetsforskning , 2008. , 181 p.
Series
Dissertations in Bilingualism, ISSN 1400-5921 ; 17
Keyword [en]
first language attrition, age differences, maturational constraints, critical period, language acquisition, bilingualism, international adoptees, conceptual proficiency, language aptitude
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Bilingualism
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8217ISBN: 978-91-7155-731-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-8217DiVA: diva2:199834
Public defence
2008-10-17, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-09-25 Created: 2008-09-20 Last updated: 2015-03-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Maturational constraints and first language attrition
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Maturational constraints and first language attrition
2009 (English)In: Language learning, ISSN 0023-8333, E-ISSN 1467-9922, Vol. 59, no 3, 687-715 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of the article is to examine how first language attrition research on maturational constraints interprets and links its findings to current views on maturation in the field of second language acquisition. It is argued that attrition research exhibits certain inconsistencies in the interpretation of the structural characteristics of the critical period and the interplay between maturation and nonmaturational factors in attrition. In view of findings from first language relearning/reactivation and theoretical-methodological advances in second language research on maturation, the article proposes a reinterpretation of maturational constraints in language attrition that, first, emphasizes the gradual decline of susceptibility to attrition and, second, puts forth the conditioning function that the maturational constraints have on nonmaturational factors.

Keyword
first language attrition • second language acquisition • age differences • critical period hypothesis • maturational constraints
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Bilingualism Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25492 (URN)10.1111/j.1467-9922.2009.00521.x (DOI)000268709800007 ()
Note
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8217Available from: 2008-09-25 Created: 2008-09-20 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
2. Dominant-language replacement. The case of international adoptees
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dominant-language replacement. The case of international adoptees
2009 (English)In: Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, ISSN 1366-7289, E-ISSN 1469-1841, Vol. 12, no 2, 121-140 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article challenges a recent proposal for the theoretical interpretation of L1 and L2 interaction that results from the abrupt change of language environment in internationally adopted children. According to this proposal (Pallier, Dehaene, Poline, LeBihan, Argenti, Depoux and Mehler, 2003; Ventureyra, Pallier and Yoo, 2004), such children experience a total loss of their L1, while, as adults, they exhibit a nativelike ultimate attainment of their L2. These authors suggest that what they see as a total loss of L1 allows a resetting of the neural network that normally subserves L1 retention and hence permits a complete acquisition of the L2. Data from two of our own research projects, one on L1 remnants in Korean adoptees in Sweden (see Park, forthcoming), and the other on age of acquisition and ultimate L2 attainment of Swedish (see Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam, in press), which included data from Latin American adoptees in Sweden among other participants, suggest (i) that L1 remnants are indeed maintained, (ii) that L2 attainment is not enhanced by severe L1 attrition, and (iii) that there is an age dimension to both the degree of L1 attrition and the level of L2 ultimate attainment in international adoptees. We therefore contend that a maturational interpretation of language replacement data is preferable.

National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Bilingualism
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25493 (URN)10.1017/S1366728908004008 (DOI)000266611100001 ()
Available from: 2008-09-25 Created: 2008-09-20 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
3. Effects of age of L2 acquisition on L1 event conceptualization patterns
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of age of L2 acquisition on L1 event conceptualization patterns
2009 (English)In: Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, ISSN 1366-7289, E-ISSN 1469-1841, Vol. 12, no 3, 305-322 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study explores the effects that the age of onset (AO) of second language (L2) acquisition exerts on the attrition of first language (L1) event conceptualization patterns. The subjects studied are L1 Spanish–L2 Swedish bilinguals living in Sweden. The specific research questions addressed in the study concern the role of AO in endpoint encoding and temporal perspectivation in goal-oriented motion events. In view of previous findings on age effects in attrition, it is hypothesized that deviations from Spanish monolingual patterns of conceptualization would be limited basically to subjects whose AO is below 12 years of age. The analyses show that subjects with AO > 12 converge with Spanish monolingual controls on both endpoint encoding and temporal perspectivation strategies, whereas deviations from the controls' performance are found exclusively in subjects with AO < 12. It is suggested, in view of these findings, that subjects with early AO are more dependent on advantageous socio-psychological circumstances such as L1 contact and use in order to fully acquire/maintain Spanish event conceptualization patterns, while L1 maintenance in subjects with late AO is less dependent on these factors. It is concluded that patterns of event conceptualization are affected by age in the same way as formal language skills.

National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25494 (URN)10.1017/S1366728909990137 (DOI)000268364700003 ()
Available from: 2008-09-25 Created: 2008-09-20 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
4. The role of language aptitude in first language attrition: The case of prepubescent attriters
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of language aptitude in first language attrition: The case of prepubescent attriters
2010 (English)In: Applied Linguistics, ISSN 0142-6001, E-ISSN 1477-450X, Vol. 31, no 3, 443-464 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

While language aptitude has been investigated actively within second language research, there is a current dearth of research on the effects of aptitude in cases of attrition. The aim of the present investigation was to explore the role of language aptitude for L1 proficiency in speakers who experienced a break with their L1 setting prior to puberty. Twenty-five L1 SpanishL2 Swedish bilinguals residing in Sweden participated in the study, and 15 native speakers of Spanish living in Chile were recruited as controls. The L1 proficiency was measured by means of a grammaticality judgement test (GJT) and language aptitude data were obtained through the Swansea Language Aptitude Test (Meara et al. <xref ref-type="bibr" rid="B36">2003</xref>). Results showed a positive correlation between GJT performance and language aptitude. More specifically, the bilinguals with above-average aptitude were more likely to score within the native range on the GJT than those with below-average aptitude. It was also seen that among the participants with below-average aptitude, GJT scores were related to daily L1 use. In view of these findings, we suggest that language aptitude has a compensatory function in language attrition, helping the attriter to retain a high level of L1 proficiency despite reduced L1 contact.

National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25495 (URN)10.1093/applin/amp059 (DOI)000278220300006 ()
Available from: 2008-09-25 Created: 2008-09-20 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Bylund Spångberg, Emanuel
By organisation
Centre for Research on Bilingualism
General Language Studies and Linguistics

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 2884 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf