Author: Gabriella Langella  

Mentor: Sarah Grey 

College: Fordham College at Rose Hill 

Presentation Type: Poster, Rotunda 

This project presents a review of second language attrition research. Language attrition refers to the loss  of proficiency in a language over time. In language attrition research, this phenomenon is divided into two  categories: first language attrition and second language attrition. The current literature on language  attrition research is skewed towards first language attrition, likely due to its rarity and the heavy  emotional toll often associated with it. However, second language attrition remains an essential topic of  study when considering the level of uncertainty that remains regarding the biological mechanisms and  processes that lead to language attrition. The two primary theoretical debates in the field regard (1)  whether or not language attrition is permanent or temporary and (2) whether attrition is due to the lack of  use of the attrited language or the increased use of a different language. In this review, prominent studies  related to these debates are considered and analyzed, with a focus on recent work that has used  neuroscience techniques. The review also discusses a proposed research study that aims to fill a gap in the  literature regarding the effects of re-exposure language experiences on the potentially attrited language.