This work was supported by the Swedish Research Council (Grant No. 421-2004-1975, N. Abrahamsson, K. Hyltenstam, E. Bylund, and K. Stölten). The main part of the ideas presented in this article was originally presented at the 14th Conference of the European Association for Second Language Acquisition (EuroSLA), Donosti-San Sebastián, Spain, September 2004. I wish to thank Kenneth Hyltenstam, Niclas Abrahamsson, Robert DeKeyser, Ray Vesterinen, and three anonymous reviewers for their insightful suggestions on previous drafts of this work. I would also like to thank Thomas Lavelle for checking my English writing. None of these persons, however, is responsible for any remaining errors of fact or interpretation.
Maturational Constraints and First Language Attrition
Version of Record online: 7 AUG 2009
© 2009 Language Learning Research Club, University of Michigan
Volume 59, Issue 3, pages 687–715, September 2009
How to Cite
Bylund, E. (2009), Maturational Constraints and First Language Attrition. Language Learning, 59: 687–715. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9922.2009.00521.x
- Issue online: 7 AUG 2009
- Version of Record online: 7 AUG 2009
- Revised version accepted 15 July 2008
- first language attrition;
- second language acquisition;
- age differences;
- critical period hypothesis;
- maturational constraints
The aim of the article is to examine how first language attrition research on maturational constraints interprets and links its findings to current views on maturation in the field of second language acquisition. It is argued that attrition research exhibits certain inconsistencies in the interpretation of the structural characteristics of the critical period and the interplay between maturation and nonmaturational factors in attrition. In view of findings from first language relearning/reactivation and theoretical-methodological advances in second language research on maturation, the article proposes a reinterpretation of maturational constraints in language attrition that, first, emphasizes the gradual decline of susceptibility to attrition and, second, puts forth the conditioning function that the maturational constraints have on nonmaturational factors.