This study investigated the unresolved issue of potential sources of heritage language attrition. To test contributing effects of three learner variables- A ge of second language acquisition, length of residence, and language input-on heritage children's lexical retrieval accuracy and speed, we conducted a real-time word naming task with 68 children (age 11-14 years) living in South Korea who spoke either Chinese or Russian as a heritage language. Results of regression analyses showed that the participants were less accurate and slower in naming target words in their heritage language as their length of residence in Korea and the amount of Korean input increased. The age of Korean acquisition did not significantly influence their performance. These findings support the claim that heritage speakers' language experience is a more reliable predictor of first language attrition than age of acquisition. We discuss these findings in light of different approaches to explaining language attrition.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language