• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What happens to the "lost language" in language attrition?

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐What happens to the ?lost language? in language attrition? For this essay one will need to look at what happens to the language that is lost in the process of language attrition. In order to do this after defining language attrition one will investigate the different situations in which language attrition can be found, one will also be examining hypothesis as to what theorists believe happens in cases of attrition and therefore what happens to the language that is at risk as it starts to disappear as the process of language attrition is taking place in individuals. There are also factors which are significant that one should look at that can have an impact. One will also have a look at effect of these factors in a case study of Dutch immigrants in France. Attrition is not only a term than can be used for individuals but also for societies such as immigrant communities. It is important to say that severe cases of language attrition in such communities can lead to the extreme case of Language death Seliger & Vago (1991) If one looks for a definition of attrition, one can see that this is a term that does not only concern language, but that attrition is the act of wearing away. ...read more.


It is also true for the skills that are required for the acquiring of a new language. Receptive skills (e.g. reading and listening) precede productive skills (e.g. speaking and writing) and the reverse is true for language attrition (De Bot et al 2005). Productive skills have been found to be more susceptible to attrition than Receptive skills. This has be found to not only be true with the ?natural? process of forgetting but can also account for pathological conditions in attriters such as dementia. However, caution must be taken as one must remember that more is known about the process of acquisition than of the process of attrition. There are several factors that are which should be looked at that affect the process of attrition. Schmid (2004) argues that the most important factor is age. As it has been suggested that the younger the child is when contact with the language is lost the faster and the most is lost. Tied in with the age factor is the level of education. Pelc cited in Schmid 2004:11 measured this by the number of years in education in Language 1. It was found that more years in education in Language 1 had the impact of slowing down the attrition process. ...read more.


Category leveling is when the concept of a category is extended into another category. Finally it has been found that attriters use category switching this means ?a Category may be maintained conceptually, but is expressed in a different linguistic form? (Seliger & Vago 1991:11). After looking at the evidence including facors affecting attrition and the hypothesis explaining the case of language attrition, one is left with the question; is it possible for a bilingual to lose a language entirely? Sharwood & Smith (1983) cited in Seliger & Vargo (1991). This is the case for the loss of Language 2 in a Language 1 environment. It has been found that it is almost impossible to deactivate a language entirely whilst the other language is being used. The languages that they are able to speak compete in the brain for amount of memory and processing space in the mind. The Activation Threshold Hypothesis supports the improbability of being able to lose a language entirely. This is because it states that a language that has not been used for a while takes a longer time to be retrieved. However, when retrieved recall will become easier and faster for the individual. Despite this, it is possible for individuals to lose a language entirely as is the case of attriters who have experienced physical damage to the brain. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Argumentative or Persuasive Essays section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Argumentative or Persuasive Essays essays

  1. The word formation process. Analyse the importance of word formation mechanism in maintaining ...

    Moreover, words are used for entertainment purposes in plays and films. Imagine you are watching a play or a movie and there is not a single word uttered by the characters. It would seem very strange. On the social, individual or political levels, words are as equally important.

  2. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both the Prescriptive and Descriptive approaches to language. ...

    However, no matter how noble the efforts of the prescriptive approach are, it also has its weaknesses. First of all, it tends to influence everyone's personal style of communication. The way we prefer to communicate with each other is chosen by everyone personally.

  1. Media plays an important role in our everyday lives. Why is it important to ...

    This is because it is the 'base' of capitalist society, eventually determined both the political and cultural life (Sinclair, J, 2002, pp.15). The French communist philosopher Louis Althusser (1918-90) pointed "the way out of Marxist paradigm, almost by giving permission to theorists to think of media messages (and audiences, for that matter)

  2. Bilingual language aquisition

    Coming from authority persons, many bilingular families have chosen to start speaking one language only, fearing that their children could be harmed linguisticly. More than half of the worlds population has two native languages. This is common all over the world, here in Norway as well.

  1. British Sign Language

    According to George Spence, BSL is the sign language used in England and the UK and this is the first language of about 150,000 people (Spence). BSL has its own grammar that uses "facial expressions, hand shapes and upper body movements to convey meaning" (Spence).

  2. Prepositional and Phrasal Verbs

    (Downing and Locke 2002: 335) Using a wh- question or relative pronoun (such as what, which, and whom) will help distinguish between phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs. The preposition of a prepositional verb can follow such a question or relative, but the adverbial particle of a phrasal verb cannot.

  1. What do you understand by Pidgins and Creoles? Discuss with examples why these languages ...

    Using the example of Tok Pisin once more, ?a key element is the use of the superstrate verb belong as a preposition meaning ?of:? (Mesthrie et al, 2000:290) Gras bilong fes ?beard? Gras bilong hed ?hair? Gras bilong ai ?eyebrow? Wara bilong skin ?sweat? Pinga bilong lek ?toe? Pela bilong

  2. Bruner and Wittgenstein: Language Learning

    To Wittgenstein, we do not use language according to strict rules, nor is language taught to us by such rules outside of some highly specialized applications (Wittgenstein 1958, 25). Bruner agrees with this anti-formalist attitude. Language acquisition, to him, is quite literally the entrance into Wittgensteinian forms of life (Bruner 1983, 62).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work