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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter attempts an overview of the most important extralinguistic variables involved to the study of second language (L2) / foreign language (FL) attrition by considering them under a Dynamic Systems Theory approach. First the role of attained proficiency is examined, followed by some of the most debated factors such as age, attitude, and motivation and language contact and use. The chapter continues with an investigation of two rather neglected factors: context and length of exposure/residence, before presenting aptitude, level of education, and literacy, for which empirical evidence is lacking. Finally, incubation is briefly mentioned. Existing research findings as well as the implication of cluster factors for the understanding of the L2/FL attrition are pointed out. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the major problems encountered while attempting to evaluate the influence of the variables discussed and some suggestions for future research.

Keywords: Second language attrition, foreign language attrition, extralinguistic variables, proficiency, age, motivation, language contact, language exposure, length of exposure

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