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Attrition in English as a foreign language – causes and consequences


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Lamot, Dorotea. (2014). Attrition in English as a foreign language – causes and consequences. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Medved-Krajnović, Marta].

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The study aims to define the linguistic phenomenon of language attrition and explore its causes and consequences by using data from quantitative and qualitative questionnaires. The study on first language attrition was conducted in December 2013 among 9 participants, all of whom consider Croatian as their first language and it relies on the data from the questionnaire based on self-evaluation. The participants were asked about their approach towards their L1 after leaving their home country, frequency of use of their L1 and their own assessment of the level of knowledge. The findings confirm the researcher’s assumption that the approach and personal relationship towards a language have a strong influence on the effects of language attrition. However, no matter how strong the connection to one’s L1, each of the participants admitted their level of L1 knowledge was lower than while they lived in their home country, which implies that a certain degree of attrition must have taken place. The study on second language attrition was also conducted in December 2013 among 15 participants in Zagreb. The aim was to determine the current level of knowledge of Italian (which was a second language for all the participants) and compare it to the presumed level of knowledge the participants had while in the process of learning Italian. Different aspects of language use were explored in order to try to decide whether the second language underwent attrition. Quantitative data and the participants’ personal impressions showed that their level of knowledge is at least twice as bad today than it used to be, the cause of this mostly being language negligence. Finally, the degree of language attrition varies and it depends on many factors. Even though this paper focuses only on some of them, all should be included in further research.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: first language attrition, second language attrition, self-evaluation, language negligence
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Medved-Krajnović, Marta
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2014 21:37
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2014 23:23

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