This paper presents an investigation into the relationship between individuals‟ attitudes towards their mother
tongue and lexical attrition. The paper is based on data from a study wherein 10 Kurdish-Turkish bilinguals
were asked to narrate a well-known story in their mother tongue of Kurdish. These individuals were selected
from among 104 participants according to their score on the Mother Tongue Attitude Scale (MTAS), a scale
used to determine attitude towards mother tongue.
In this study, quantitative and qualitative research methods were used together. The participants were asked to
tell a story in Kurdish to assess their use of Turkish words while doing so. Additionally, the participants were
also asked to evaluate their Kurdish speaking ability after telling the story.
The results of the study showed participants with a low MTAS score resorted to borrowing more Turkish words
and were able to access a smaller number of Kurdish words than the participants with higher MTAS scores and
they suffered more from lexical attrition than their counterparts. Those with high MTAS scores, with a positive
attitude towards their mother tongue, used smaller numbers of words borrowed from Turkish and had access to a
richer lexicon with which to narrate the story.
Keywords: Lexical attrition, attitude, mother tongue, bilingualism