Media coverage

Over the past years, some of the accounts and news stories involving language attrition (for examples the ones you can find here) have led to media attention. Here is a collection of links to radio interviews and news articles in various languages:

  • 03.04.2018: The Guardian re-published a piece I wrote about language attrition and its consequences for people wanting to return to the job marked in their country of origin (and what to do so you don’t mess up in the interview because of attrition).
    I’d like to share a rather funny little anecdote about this with you: one of the  comments which were posted in response to the Guardian piece said: “This whole article is utter nonsense.” Quite a few people took exception to this comment, saying they recognised themselves in it. So the person clarified, saying (among other things) that, while he “never ever” speaks English, “I have 100% confidence in writing English […] my English is perfect.” Somehow the name rang a bell, and when I went back through my files I found a screenshot I had taken of a comment from the same reader, posted a couple of months earlier in response to an article about bilingualism, in which he said:
    (it all goes to show that one should never trust self-assessments about language attrition…)
    On the back of this, I appeared on Newstalk Irish Radio, to talk about forgetting languages, in particular the Irish language among people who don’t use it any more after they leave school. The interview is available as a podcast.



  • 11.01.2018: Yaldaz Sadakova gives a very moving account of what it was like to grow up in Bulgaria as a member of the Turkish minority, and being shamed for that – and now living in Canada and being shamed by Turks for having forgotten her Turkish!






  • spiegelthe German newsmagazine Der Spiegel published an account of language attrition, based largely on my work (18.12.2015). An interesting little factoid is that the short blurb in the table of contents was supposed to say ‘how the second language interferes with the native language’, but in the final editing process someone saw this, thought it must clearly be a mistake and changed it (without checking!) to ‘how the native language interferes with second language acquisition’. So much for general perceptions of the likeliehood of language attrition!
    The interview was accompanied by a podcast in which I talk some more about these matters (also in German).