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Ecological links between L2 learning and L1 change

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  • UserAntonella Sorace (University of Edinburgh)
  • ClockThursday 13 May 2021, 16:30-18:00
  • HouseOnline.

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Is there a relationship between openness of the L1 to change and level of L2 attainment? Recent research on the phenomenon of ‘attrition’ has shown that a speaker’s first language (L1) changes in selective ways as a result of learning a second language (L2). The aspects of L1 grammar affected by change are the same that remain variable even in highly proficient L2 speakers of the same language. While more evidence is needed, three general conclusions are possible at this stage: first, we should treat L1 attrition as a natural consequence of language contact, first in the bilingual brain and then in bilingual communities, which may eventually lead to language change; second, understanding the big picture requires serious consideration of individual differences; third, it also requires interdisciplinary research on different aspects of bilingualism that combines the insights of linguistic, cognitive and social models.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Linguistic Society (LingSoc) series.

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