'Language attrition' describes the loss of, or changes to, grammatical and other features of a language as a result of declining use by speakers who have changed their linguistic environment and language habits. In such a situation there may, for example, be simplification in the tense system or in certain properties of subordinate clauses; some vocabulary items might fall into disuse and phonetic features may be restructured. These changes can be affected by features of the speaker's environment, but also by his or her attitudes and processes of identification. This book provides a detailed and up-to-date introduction to the way in which language attrition can affect language, as well as to the extra- and sociolinguistic features involved. It also familiarizes the reader with experimental approaches to attrition and data analysis techniques and provides hands-on guidelines on how to apply them.
Monika S. Schmid is Professor of English Language and Rosalind Franklin Fellow at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
1. Introduction; Part I. Linguistic Aspects of Language Attrition: 2. What is attrition?; 3. Cross-linguistic influence and the mental lexicon; 4. Attrition in the mental lexicon; 5. Attrition and the structure of language; Part II. Extralinguistic Aspects of Language Attrition: 6. Personal background factors; 7. The role of L1 input and output; 8. Attitudes and identities; Part III. Conducting Research on Language Attrition - Preliminary Considerations: 9. The test populations: participant characteristics and acquisition; 10. Types of linguistic knowledge; Part IV. Experimental Designs for Attrition Research - The Language Attrition Test Battery: 11. Lexical tasks; 12. Grammaticality judgment tasks; 13. Other grammatical tasks; 14. Free speech; Part V. Coding and Analysing the Data: 15. Transcribing and coding free speech: the CHILDES project; 16. Coding and reporting experimental data; 17. Interpreting your data: inferential statistics; 18. Conclusion.