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The study of language loss: Models and hypotheses for an emerging discipline

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2008

Barbara Alexander Pan
Affiliation:
Boston University
Jean Berko Gleason*
Affiliation:
Boston University
*
Jean Berko Gleason, Department of Psychology, Boston University, 64 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215

Extract

The study of language acquisition has enjoyed a robust history in recent years, with the advent of developmental psycholinguistics as a separate field, and with much attention to bilingualism and the acquisition of second languages by both children and adults. The loss of language skills by individual speakers has, by contrast, been a little researched area, with the exception of the field of aphasiology, which has developed roughly parallel with modern psycholinguistics. Typical situations in which language skills may be lost occur when an individual speaker of a language moves to an area where another language is dominant; when an ethnolinguistic minority child enters school and adopts the societal language; when a second language is no longer studied or needed; when a local language drops out of use and its speakers must adopt a more dominant language. As they grow older, young children appear to lose some language-related skills, such as the ability to make fine phonetic discriminations (see Burnham, this issue) and aging adults lose some language skills they once had.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1986

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