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date: 26 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

As the introduction to the section on second language (L2) attrition, this chapter provides a broad presentation to research on attrition of L2 and foreign languages (FL). We will first discuss the terminology used in the field, focusing on some important differences in the terminology used in first language (L1) attrition studies. It provides a short overview of the development of the field, outlining major challenges and obstacles that research on the topic has to deal with. Next, it briefly describes the major findings and knowledge amassed on the subject before reviewing in more detail the findings of some of the most significant and large-scale projects carried out on L2/FL attrition. A final presentation of several theoretical frameworks of interest for L2/FL attrition research will allow us to show how L2/FL attrition is commonly explained but also to provide some ideas for future research directions.

Keywords: Second language attrition, foreign language attrition, guided language learning, returnees, forgetting

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