The role of emotions in l1 attrition

the case of Korean-English late bilinguals in New Zealand

Sun Hee Ok Kim, Donna Starks

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    This article explores the role of emotions in L1 attrition and L2 acquisition in a group of 30 Korean-English L1-dominant late bilinguals in New Zealand. The relationship between L1/L2 proficiency measures and emotion-related language choice (ERLC) is investigated using three measurement tools: a story-retelling task, a questionnaire, and a follow-up interview. The findings point to a shift from L1 to L2 and show this to be related to an increase in L2 fluency and a decrease in L1 accuracy. The findings also show an overall preference for ERLC to be in L1 rather than L2 and point to a strong relationship between ERLC and proficiency. Two other findings emerge from the data. Scores for ERLC relating to anger show different patterns, as well as those which express light emotional load. Follow-up interviews help explain these differences and add to our understanding of why the literature on ERLC among late bilinguals often appears contradictory.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)303-319
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Bilingualism
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • Emotions
    • Korean-english bilinguals
    • L1 attrition

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