Chapter 6. The lost word

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This study replicates the investigation of missionary vocabulary acquisition reported in the previous chapter in an examination of vocabulary attrition in the same population following the mission. Time since the period spent overseas is found to be the strongest predictor of returnee vocabulary retention, with words in the European languages retained longer than in the Asian languages. A male advantage in vocabulary maintenance is confounded by the gender inequality in L2 exposure time, suggesting a possible threshold effect experienced by the men in their longer time abroad. Affect is found to have an overall weaker role in lexical retention than in lexical learning.


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