Edited by Anke Lenzing, Howard Nicholas and Jana Roos
[Processability Approaches to Language Acquisition Research & Teaching 7] 2019
► pp. 185–206
Chapter 8. Processability Theory as a tool in the study of a heritage speaker of Norwegian
In this article, we employ aspects of Processability Theory (PT) to study the language of one fourth generation heritage speaker of Norwegian in America. This man, who we refer to as Lars, was almost 50 years old when we first met and recorded him in 2010, and to our knowledge he is among the youngest Norwegian-Americans still able to speak Norwegian as a heritage language in the Upper Midwest. His dominant language was Norwegian until he started school, when English took over this role. When we met him the first time, he had not spoken Norwegian to any substantial extent for several decades.
When we examine his language, we find a number of grammatical deviations from the baseline – the language as spoken in the old world, and we discuss the possible explanations for these; are they related to the quality of the input, are they due to attrition or are they the result of incomplete acquisition? In the discussion, we include certain aspects of PT, and based on this, we claim that attrition is the most likely explanation for the reduced structures in Lars’ Norwegian.