Article published in:Language Attrition: Theoretical perspectives
Edited by Barbara Köpke, Monika S. Schmid, Merel Keijzer and Susan Dostert
[Studies in Bilingualism 33] 2007
► pp. 53–68
Dynamic systems theory, lifespan development and language attrition
The two basic questions in the field of language attrition are: why do people lose their language? and how do they lose their language? The former question concerns the factors which cause attrition, the latter the mechanics of the attrition process. Though the two questions are intimately related and mutually affect each other, I will draw upon two fields of research which are as yet largely unconnected to shed light on them. Where the why-question is concerned, I will argue for a perspective of developmental psychology in which developments over the whole lifespan are studied. The how-question, on the other hand, is best addressed within the framework of a dynamic systems perspective which focuses on the development over time of complex systems such as human cognition and language.
Keywords: chaos and complexity theory, Dynamic Systems Theory, lifespan perspective
Published online: 08 August 2007
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