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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of the research on the attrition of native language (L1) in late bilinguals in relation to their second language (L2) development and integration into the L2 society. Despite lack of empirical evidence, it is often implicitly assumed that maintaining L1 knowledge impedes L2 learning. Furthermore, individuals whose L1 skills decline as a result of immersion in an L2 environment and become highly competent in the L2 are expected to achieve better cultural integration as opposed to those who prefer to preserve their mother tongue. We point to the fact that bilingualism and biculturalism have often been investigated independently and hence the lack of evidence for a straightforward association between the development of languages and cultural affiliation; and we call for in-depth studies that integrate language and culture in order to reveal their consequences for L1 development.

Keywords: Native language, late bilinguals, second language development, bilingualism, biculturalism, cultural affiliation

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