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Title: Life in a new language : an acculturation perspective on language shift in bilinguals
Author: Hammer, K. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6501 0998
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis reports an investigation into language shift in bilinguals from an acculturation perspective. The sample consisted of 149 sequential Polish-English bilinguals, who migrated to the United Kingdom) (UK) in young adulthood, and underwent processes of acculturation. The purpose of the study was to explore the effects of migration and acculturation on the degree of language shift across experiential domains, language dominance, and inner speech, cognitive and communicative functions. The extent of language shift was analysed against acculturation variables, including self-reported acculturation level, social network profile, language of attachment, and predicted future domicile. Varying degrees of language shift in domains belonging to inner speech, cognitive and communicative functions were compared and analysed against self-reported acculturation level. Language shift comparisons were made both between domains and between functions, illustrating the intensity and chronology of language shift in acculturated bilinguals. The investigation employed both emic and etic approaches, and consisted of an online questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. The online questionnaire was designed to measure language use in experiential domains and functions of language use, for before and after migration, as well as elicit certain acculturation-oriented and sociobiographical information. The questionnaire consisted of closed-ended and open› ended questions and it used a 5-point Likert scale, as well as a table of language use. The results showed that language shift in bilinguals is linked to social and psychological acculturation variables and that it progresses gradually until the second language (L2) starts to replace the first language (L 1) across domains. Acculturation has been linked to the intensity of language shift, and the extent of L2 intemalisation in bilinguals. The findings also showed that acculturation variables are linked to feeling natural in L2 and perception of the L2 as emotional.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available