Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
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This article contains a report of a case study on language shift and language loss in three generations of a Dutch immigrant family in New Zealand carried out in 1990/1991 (Folmer 1991). Language shift refers to the shift from Dutch to English and language loss to the loss of the mother tongue Dutch. In addition to language shift and loss, the personal linguistic history of the subjects and their (language) attitudes were examined; these topics are only discussed indirectly in this article.

One first generation member, five members of the second generation and two third generation children took part in the investigation. The instruments used were an analysis of letters, an interview, a domain questionnaire, an editing test and a correction test.

It was found that language shift increases with each generation. The factors education, exogamy, (language) attitudes and age also proved to be important. Furthermore, the type of domain or activity made a difference.

In both the first and the second generation the degree of language loss in Dutch was rather low. Some trends in the loss process were established and certain word classes turned out to be more problematic than others.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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