Attitude Towards the First Language and Its Effects on First Language Lexical Attrition


International Journal of Kurdish Studies, vol.7, pp.65-81, 2021 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier


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