1,658 research outputs found

    Contact x time: External factors and variability in L1 attrition

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    Investigations of the language behaviour of immigrant communities usually find that the degree of maintenance of the heritage language or shift to the language of the host country differs both between immigrant communities and between individuals. On the one hand, group comparisons between migrants and controls typically show signs of attrition among the experimental populations. On the other, investigations of individual linguistic development within one group of immigrants also show great variation between speakers where the degree of L1 maintenance or deterioration is concerned. Two decades ago, an explanation for such differences in L1 proficiency was proposed which invoked an interaction of two factors: time spent in emigration and amount of contact with the L1. In a study of Dutch migrants in France, De Bot, Gommans & Rossing (1991) established that there was a correlation between attrition effects in free speech and length of residence, but that this effect was only apparent for those speakers who had very little contact with their L1.The present investigation attempts to replicate this finding in a large-scale study of the attrition of L1 German in an L2 English and an L2 Dutch setting. It finds that, while length of residence has no explanatory validity when assessed across the entire population, a differential investigation of subgroups of speakers with different amounts of contact does show an impact of time with respect to performance on formal tasks, perceived foreign accent, and accuracy in free speech. Interestingly, with the exception of accuracy measures, this correlation obtains not only for those migrants who have the least contact with L1, but also for those with the most. It is argued that both very frequent and very infrequent use of the L1 can accelerate attrition, either through contact-induced change within a bilingual migrant community, or through lack of rehearsal

    First language attrition: state of the discipline and future directions

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    The overwhelming bias for investigations of bilingualism is to focus on the increase of knowledge and crosslinguistic traffic from the L1 to the L2. Developments which concern loss, deterioration or reduced accessibility of knowledge and traffic from the L2 to the L1 are much less well-studied and understood, and are usually treated as a somewhat marginal issue. The present contribution provides an overview of research in first language attrition and argues that changes to the first language system are part and parcel of the development of bilingual knowledge and processing. As such, they can help provide additional insight into controversial issues, such as questions about the existence of maturational constraints in L2 learning, and potentially help resolve these matters

    Multi-competence and first language attrition

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    Introduction The multi-competence approach views bilingual development as a wholistic process that impacts not only on the linguistic system which is being acquired but on other languages that are already established in the mind/brain (Cook 2012). This perspective implies that the process commonly referred to as first language attrition - the changes to linguistic skills or language proficiency under conditions of reduced use - should be seen as an essential component of this wider picture. The assumption that bilingual development ‘involves the whole mind of the speaker, not simply their first language (L1) or their second’ (Cook 2012, p. 3768) puts developments and changes which occur in the first language while another is being learned or used on an equal footing with the development of the language that is being acquired. This status of processes of change in the first language, however, is not reflected in present-day linguistic research, with investigations of and insights into L1 attrition still lagging far behind the multitude of studies of second language (L2) development. The present contribution will give an overview of research in the field of first language attrition in a migration setting, and try to integrate those findings into the overall multi-competence framework. We would like to point out that, despite the fact that the term attrition is often perceived to imply negative connotations or collocations (cf. war of attrition), we do not use it here with any evaluative implication. On the contrary, in the same way that multi-competence approaches aim to consider L2 users in their own right and deny a special status to the native speaker on the assumption that ‘it is the users’ own language that matters’ (Cook 2012, p. 1), the variety used by the attriter is not to be seen as inferior, reduced or deteriorated: it is simply a system which coexists in the mind/brain, and thus within a larger ‘language supersystem’ with another (possibly dominant) language. We thus feel that, while the original label attrition may have been somewhat unfortunately and inappropriately chosen, it has become such an established term in the intervening years (with more than 5,000 hits on Google Scholar) that it would be counterproductive to change the nomenclature at this point

    When is a bilingual an attriter? Response to the commentaries.

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    Entrenchment and Language Attrition

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    In cognitive linguistics it is assumed that the strength of entrenchment of linguistic knowledge in human memory has a direct impact on the way that such knowledge is structured and processed: more deeply entrenched knowledge will be represented more holistically and processed more automatically. At the same time, this view implies that linguistic knowledge may erode if certain memory traces are not used for longer periods of time. This process of deterioration is called language attrition, but it is unclear how exactly this erosion will proceed, and to what extent it can be explained solely on the basis of the degree of entrenchment of linguistic constructions. The present contribution reviews evidence on language attrition relevant to the perspective of entrenchment. We discuss to what extent factors such as the frequency and context of use impact on language attrition, and how different aspects of language are differentially affected by the attrition process due to, for example, the frequency of an item or crosslinguistic similarity. We conclude that attrition takes place at the intersection of a range of complex processes: while the strong entrenchment of the first language especially in later second language learners can explain the often minimal amount of attrition found in these populations, findings suggest that instead of the overall degree of entrenchment and L1 use it is an interplay between entrenchment and the differing ability of bilingual speakers to inhibit the L2 that impacts the amount of first language attrition

    Second language acquisition and attrition

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    Stability of a moving radial liquid sheet: experiments

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    A recent theory (Tirumkudulu & Paramati, Phys. Fluids, vol. 25, 2013, 102107) for a radially expanding liquid sheet, that accounts for liquid inertia, interfacial tension and thinning of the liquid sheet while ignoring the inertia of the surrounding gas and viscous effects, shows that such a sheet is convectively unstable to small sinuous disturbances at all frequencies and Weber numbers. We equivalent to rho(l)U(2)h/sigma). Here, rho(l) and sigma are the density and surface tension of the liquid, respectively, U is the speed of the liquid jet, and h is the local sheet thickness. In this study we use a simple non-contact optical technique based on laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) to measure the instantaneous local sheet thickness and displacement of a circular sheet produced by head-on impingement of two laminar jets. When the impingement point is disturbed via acoustic forcing, sinuous waves produced close to the impingement point travel radially outwards. The phase speed of the sinuous wave decreases while the amplitude grows as they propagate radially outwards. Our experimental technique was unable to detect thickness modulations in the presence of forcing, suggesting that the modulations could be smaller than the resolution of our experimental technique. The measured phase speed of the sinuous wave envelope matches with theoretical predictions while there is a qualitative agreement in the case of spatial growth. We show that there is a range of frequencies over which the sheet is unstable due to both aerodynamic interaction and thinning effects, while outside this range, thinning effects dominate. These results imply that a full theory that describes the dynamics of a radially expanding liquid sheet should account for both effects

    On L1 attrition and the linguistic system

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    One of the most puzzling observations for linguists is the difference between learning a language from birth and later in life: while all normally developing children can attain full native language proficiency, there is considerable variability in ultimate attainment among older speakers who attempt to acquire a second language (L2). There is an ongoing controversy in linguistic research on whether this discrepancy is due to a maturationally constrained window of linguistic development making language learning difficult or impossible after puberty, or to general cognitive factors linked to the fact that the later an L2 is established, the stronger the competition it has to overcome from the more deeply entrenched first language (L1). Studies attempting to resolve this controversy have so far focussed exclusively on the development of L2 skills. New insights may be provided by investigating the first language skills of migrants who have become dominant in the L2 (referred to as L1 attriters). Such speakers learned their L1 as monolinguals during childhood, and were therefore not impeded by maturational constraints in the acquisitional process. Having lived in an L2 environment for a long period of time, however, their seldom-used L1 shows signs of the influence of their highly active L2. A systematic comparison of L1 attriters and L2 learners may therefore be able to shed some light on the question of whether there is a qualitative or merely a quantitative difference between L1 acquisition in childhood and L2 acquisition later in life: If being a native speaker is maturationally constrained, even attrited L1 systems should remain native-like. But if the persistent problems of L2 learners are due to issues such as lack of practice and exposure, and competition between their two language systems, bilinguals who use their second language dominantly should become more similar to L2 speakers

    Orbital Kondo effect in carbon nanotubes

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    Progress in the fabrication of nanometer-scale electronic devices is opening new opportunities to uncover the deepest aspects of the Kondo effect, one of the paradigmatic phenomena in the physics of strongly correlated electrons. Artificial single-impurity Kondo systems have been realized in various nanostructures, including semiconductor quantum dots, carbon nanotubes and individual molecules. The Kondo effect is usually regarded as a spin-related phenomenon, namely the coherent exchange of the spin between a localized state and a Fermi sea of electrons. In principle, however, the role of the spin could be replaced by other degrees of freedom, such as an orbital quantum number. Here we demonstrate that the unique electronic structure of carbon nanotubes enables the observation of a purely orbital Kondo effect. We use a magnetic field to tune spin-polarized states into orbital degeneracy and conclude that the orbital quantum number is conserved during tunneling. When orbital and spin degeneracies are simultaneously present, we observe a strongly enhanced Kondo effect, with a multiple splitting of the Kondo resonance at finite field and predicted to obey a so-called SU(4) symmetry.Comment: 26 pages, including 4+2 figure

    Pathophysiology of acute experimental pancreatitis: Lessons from genetically engineered animal models and new molecular approaches

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    The incidence of acute pancreatitis is growing and worldwide population-based studies report a doubling or tripling since the 1970s. 25% of acute pancreatitis are severe and associated with histological changes of necrotizing pancreatitis. There is still no specific medical treatment for acute pancreatitis. The average mortality resides around 10%. In order to develop new specific medical treatment strategies for acute pancreatitis, a better understanding of the pathophysiology during the onset of acute pancreatitis is necessary. Since it is difficult to study the early acinar events in human pancreatitis, several animal models of acute pancreatitis have been developed. By this, it is hoped that clues into human pathophysiology become possible. In the last decade, while employing molecular biology techniques, a major progress has been made. The genome of the mouse was recently sequenced. Various strategies are possible to prove a causal effect of a single gene or protein, using either gain-of-function (i.e., overexpression of the protein of interest) or loss-of-function studies (i.e., genetic deletion of the gene of interest). The availability of transgenic mouse models and gene deletion studies has clearly increased our knowledge about the pathophysiology of acute pancreatitis and enables us to study and confirm in vitro findings in animal models. In addition, transgenic models with specific genetic deletion or overexpression of genes help in understanding the role of one specific protein in a cascade of inflammatory processes such as pancreatitis where different proteins interact and co-react. This review summarizes the recent progress in this field. Copyright (c) 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel