I Thought I Forgot about it: A Case Study in Attrition of English Grammar and Reading Comprehension

Thamer Alharthi, Albandary Al-Hassan


The purpose of the present study was to investigate foreign language attrition in Saudi Arabia. It focused on the attrition of English grammar and reading comprehension of university students whose formal learning of English had ceased between one and four years prior to the study. The participants were non-English major Saudi undergraduate female students at a Saudi university who had completed an English course in order to fulfill college requirements. The study adopted the kind of design commonly used in language attrition studies, i.e. a combination of longitudinal and cross-sectional approaches. Various measurements of L2 attrition were conducted, including tests, questionnaires, and can-do scales. The findings suggest that (1) attrition due to ack of use of English did occur, (2) attrition sets in quickly and then levels off after four years of non-use, (3) reading comprehension is more vulnerable to attrition than grammar, and (4) no significant differences between participants were found due to the length of time English had not been used. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v8i4.9896

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