The Roles of Age, Attitude, and Use in First Language Development and Attrition of Turkish–English Bilinguals

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Schmid M. S. , Karayayla T.

Language Learning, vol.70, no.1, pp.54-84, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SSCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 70 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/lang.12361
  • Title of Journal : Language Learning
  • Page Numbers: pp.54-84


Recent decades have seen an increase in research informing our understanding of

the complex ways in which bilingual development is shaped by biological, cognitive,

and behavioral factors. We investigate the predictors that shape, drive, and constrain

the development of the first language (L1) of bilinguals, focusing on 92 Turkish–

English bilingual adults with a wide range (0–42) of age at onset (AaO).We tested their

productive command of L1 lexical, morphological, and syntactic features, investigating

to what extent background variables relating to AaO, experience, and attitudes toward

the Turkish language and culture predict the relative level of proficiency across these

features. To obtain a comprehensive picture of the interaction of these linguistic and

extralinguistic factors, we employed structural equation modeling. We show that for

speakers with younger AaOs, exposure-related factors are associated with the level

of L1 proficiency they retain as adults; for later bilinguals, exposure-related factors

matter less.