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Languages, Cultures and LinguisticsPart of Humanities

Research project: Vulnerable native grammars: the effects of limited input in native language attrition

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What happens to the grammar of your native language when you frequently use a second language? Prof. Laura Domínguez (PI) and Dr Glyn Hicks from Modern Languages and Linguistics are seeking to answer this question.

The Vulnerable Native Grammars project is a collaboration between the University of Southampton and the University of York, which runs from 2020-2023. Using multi-method data collection, the project examines changes in the native grammars of migrants who have settled in a foreign context – or what is known as grammatical attrition.

The project addresses three main research questions:

1. Which aspects of the grammar are susceptible to attrition?

2. What language input conditions favour attrition?

3. How can a model of first language acquisition be articulated to accommodate attrition?

To address these questions, the project has three strands, investigating potential grammatical attrition across multiple linguistic phenomena in three different language input contexts.

The three strands

The project will also create the first open access oral corpus of attrited native language, made available to researchers through this website.

Additionally, the project raises awareness of the different types of lingusitic “nativeness” that exist, and some of the difficulties that native speakers may face when living abroad.

The Vulnerable Native Grammars project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AH/T005157/1).


University of Southampton
University of York
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