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Language Attrition Downunder

German Speakers in Australia


Margit Waas

Language Attrition Downunder investigates the loss of a first language in a second language environment. In the first large-scale study on German speakers in Sydney, Australia, permanent residents and naturalised citizens who arrived as adults were interviewed. The survey establishes that after an immigration and assimilation period of ten to twenty years, the speakers' first language was markedly impaired. In particular, pragmatic aspects of onomatopoeia, reflex responses and repartee had attrited in the first language.
Contents: Introduction - Methodology - Fieldwork - Quantitative Results - Qualitative Results - Conclusion - Notes with Survey Sample - Bibliography.