Chapter 10. Syntactic attrition in L2 Japanese missionary language

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This paper briefly reviews earlier studies of lexical and syntactic attrition among 20 English-native-speaking L2 Japanese subjects over a two-year period following their return to the U.S. after nearly two years’ intensive, informal acquisition in Japan. The paper then examines changes that occurred over an additional 10-year period of disuse of JSL by some of the same subjects, in particle usage, syntactic complexity, and syntactic variety. Findings include significant evidence of a likely long-term, positive effect of post-return formal instruction upon the retention of oral production skills, particularly in the number of clauses per T-Unit (a measure of syntactic complexity) and in the number of different types of subordinate clauses used (a measure of syntactic variety).


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