Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics

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Language Attrition
(1,964 words)

Language attrition refers to the decline or loss of an individual’s language skills. The language can be the individual’s first language (L1), second language (L2) or both. The phenomenon of language attrition generates a host of questions that are intriguing to professionals across multiple disciplines as well as lay people:

What does forgetting a language look like? Which linguistic levels are affected by forgetting, to what degree and in what sequence? How does forgetting in one area (e.g., vocabulary) affect language skills in another (e.g., syntax)?
What causes some ind…

Cite this page
Gisela JIA, “Language Attrition”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 02 April 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_000123>
First published online: 2015

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