Language attrition

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Language attrition refers to the process of losing the ability to use a language. This may be a native language or a second language that was acquired later, and attrition may be partial or total.

The field of language attrition study in linguistics has expanded in recent years as researchers become more interested in the extent to which first and second language loss are related to language acquisition and the process of relearning a language once lost. For example, to what extent, if any, does attrition mirror the process of acquisition (i.e. is what is acquired late lost earliest)? How does literacy, social background or the age of first learning affect attrition, if at all? Can someone who has lost a language relearn it more quickly than others? Questions such as this are put to the test by a diverse range of researchers, reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of the subject.