Linguistics and English Language

Bilingualism research group

Speaker: Yajun Liu (University of Edinburgh)

Title: From individual to generational attrition: Language change through communicative interaction

Abstract: Continuous immersion in an L2 community causes speakers’ L1 to change, a phenomenon known as L1 attrition; as a result, the next generation of bilinguals might receive an altered version of the language input of their heritage from their parents (Bayram, Cabo & Rothman, 2019). In the course of L1 attrition and its trickle-down effects for heritage language, communicative alignment may play an important role. Alignment refers to the shared mental representation of linguistic aspects between interlocutors that correspond to understanding in conversations (Costa, Pickering & Sorace, 2008). In order to achieve alignment, speakers tend to adapt their language use to be similar to that of their conversation partners. Such adaptation at the interactional level allows certain linguistic forms to be more frequently used and spread in communities, leading to language restructuring over time. As such, my PhD research attempts to bring together bilinguals of two types – L1 attriters and heritage speakers – to explore the role of communication in language change at the individual, generational and community levels.

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Nov 08 2021 -

Bilingualism research group

2021-11-08: From individual to generational attrition: Language change through communicative interaction

Online via link invitation