Anteprima della tesi di Silvia Pareti

How the Learning of a Second Language Affects the First Language of an Individual: The Italian of Monolingual and Multilingual Speakers

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Anteprima della tesi: How the Learning of a Second Language Affects the First Language of an Individual: The Italian of Monolingual and Multilingual Speakers, Pagina 5

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The focus of this chapter will be the analysis of the possible situations of
influence of the L2 on the L1. We will consider when the ‘reverse transfer’
happens and what makes it possible. The phenomenon of L1 attrition will be
briefly introduced, and the changes occurring in the language, proceeding from
the L2, discussed. Finally, a confrontation between language acquisition and
language loss will be presented.
As already seen, the influence of the L2 on the L1, whose effects attracted
the attention of linguists only in the case of attrition, was considered a negative
one. L1 attrition, however, is not an effect of the influence of the L2. What is true
is that when the L1 is undergoing attrition, the effects of the L2 are more visible.
The most common example of L1 attrition, is that of long-term immigrants to a
L2 country, whose L1, abandoned for many years, has no longer the strength to
supply all its own linguistic structures. Other situation of attrition may occur, as
we will discuss later.
In recent years, attention has been paid also to the effects of the L2 on a
lively, and still used in most of its complex range of applications, L1. The benefits
of learning a second language, for example, have proven that already at early
stages of FL learning, thus not involving the acquisition of the L2 in a natural
environment, the L2 modifies the general linguistic system of the individual.
In between FL learning and attrition lies the intermediate stage of L2 users
in the L2 environment, when the L1 is still used on a daily basis. We will indicate
this kind of relation as ‘coexistence’ of the L1 with the L2, and examine it in
greater depth later on. This situation is ideally the one in which the speaker is
employing both languages with a similar frequency, and possibly also with a
certain variety of uses. If the languages have only specialized areas of
employment, they clearly cannot be considered as fully developed and their
potential is restricted in use. In this case, they function more like different
registers and the speaker needs both as part of his complex linguistic system.
The influence of the L2, when it coexists with the L1, is quite consistent.
Being an intermediate stage, it has in itself positive and negative effects. Although