L2 English as a Backup for L3 Czech

Linda Doleží


In my article I would like to discuss the role of English as a “backup” language as a result of language attrition phenomena. Usually, dominant language interference is described in connection to mother tongue attrition and is considered as one of its natural but negative outcomes. Less attention is paid to language attrition and interaction among second or foreign languages. First, I would like to describe language attrition, its main features and characteristics and factors that influence it and I would like to challenge the “use it or lose it” rule (Schmid, 2019). Attention will be paid to mother tongue attrition (Schmid, 2011) and second/foreign language attrition (Schmid and Mehotcheva, 2012). Furthermore, I would like to understand how L2 English interacts with L3 Czech in L1 Arabic speaker who has a scarce access to possibilities of using his second language – Czech. Examples of different language attrition and language contact or interaction phenomena (for example “To je unofficial čtvrť budovaný against the law“ etc.) will be depicted based on naturalistic, recorded data of a speaker who has acquired typologically interesting and very “different“ languages. Interference and code-switching of the languages involved will be discussed and compared to data already available in various linguistic contexts (i. e. Dewaele, 1998 and Selinker, Baumgartner-Cohen, 1995 in Murphy, 2003). Last but not least, the importance of holistic approach to multilingual mind and its importance for language learning, preservance, teaching and testing will be pointed out. Yates and Terraschke (2013) refer to the uniqueness of the situation, to the role of emotions connected to the language itself and to the role of the language in the family and the community when speaking about keeping our mother tongues. In this case study I would like to show that there should always and generally – not only in the case of using and keeping mother tongues – be a space for individual and highly variable approach to language learners and users and their linguistic trajectories (Pavlenko, 2005).

Klíčová slova

language attrition, language contact, emotions, language teaching

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