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ERIC Number: EJ983043
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: ISSN-1479-0718
The Effect of Population Distribution on L1 and L2 Acquisition: Evidence from the Multilingual Region of South Tyrol
De Angelis, Gessica
International Journal of Multilingualism, v9 n4 p407-422 2012
The present article examines the effect of population distribution on L1 (Italian) and L2 (German) acquisition in the multilingual context of South Tyrol, Italy. Population distribution is regarded as a central variable to assess the impact of two factors included in willingness to communicate (WTC) theory: (1) Fear of assimilation to the L2 community and (2) Intergroup Climate. The study examines whether the opportunity to communicate in the L1 or the L2 in the immediate living environment has an effect on L1 and L2 acquisition at a single point in time as well as over time. Data were from two different projects: Mivas and Invalsi. The Mivas project examined written competence in the Italian L1 and the German L2 on measures of Fluency, Grammatical Complexity and Lexical Complexity. The final exams of 8th grade multilingual students enrolled in Italian language schools were examined for the year 1979/80 (Italian L1 n=33, German L2 n=37) and 2005/6 (Italian L1 n=41, German L2 n=43). Students' competence in the Italian L1 was also assessed through the results of national standardised testing (Invalsi) carried out in 2009/10 with 2nd grade students (n=1007) in the region. Overall results showed no evidence that living in an environment with a high concentration of L2 speakers is associated to L1 loss either at a single point in time or over time. Also, repeated and frequent exposure to the L2 spoken in the community were found to have a positive effect on L2 acquisition only whenever speakers of the L1 in the immediate living environment were scarce. Opportunity to communicate then seems to have an effect on L2 acquisition but no effect on L1 acquisition. (Contains 1 note and 8 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 2; Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Italy