Language attrition: mechanisms of occurrence, features of study and prospects for further research



This theoretical review clarifies the concept of "language attrition " by defining the phenomenological and contextual features of its utilization, discussing the definition of contradictions, and suggesting potential directions for future research. Taking into account existing data, we regard the existing approaches to language attrition and analyze the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon. This analysis seems to be the first step in building up an integral theoretical model summarizing the available empirical data. It helps to apply a neurobiological approach, allowing to identify neural markers of language attrition at different levels of language processing and within different language categories. To this end, we propose specific experimental approaches to recording neural traces of attrition and formulate working hypotheses based on proposed experimental paradigms.

General Information

Keywords: language attrition, bilingualism, interlingual interactions, EEG/MEG, FMRI.

Journal rubric: Neurosciences

Article type: review article


Funding. The study was carried out with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation, project No. 19-18-00550.

For citation: Malyshevskaya A.S., Gallо F., Bermudez-Margaretto B., Shtyrov Y.Y., Chitaya T.D., Petrova A.A., Myachykov A.V. Language attrition: mechanisms of occurrence, features of study and prospects for further research [Elektronnyi resurs]. Sovremennaia zarubezhnaia psikhologiia = Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology, 2021. Vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 111–124. DOI: 10.17759/jmfp.2021100111. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Anastasia S. Malyshevskaya, graduate student, Centre for Cognition and Decision Making, Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Federico Gallо, graduate student, Centre for Cognition and Decision Making, Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Beatriz Bermudez-Margaretto, PhD, research fellow, Centre for Cognition and Decision making, Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Yury Y. Shtyrov, PhD, Professor, leading research fellow, Aarhus Universitet, leading research fellow, Centre for Cognition and Decision making, Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Aarhus, Denmark, ORCID:, e-mail:

Tamara D. Chitaya, bachelor’s degree, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Anna A. Petrova, PhD, Research Fellow, Centre for Cognition and Decision making, Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Andriy V. Myachykov, PhD, Professor, leading research fellow, Department of Psychology, Northumbria University, leading research fellow, Centre for Cognition and Decision making, Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, leading research fellow, Centre for Cognition and Decision making, Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience, Newcastle upon Tyne, Great Britain, ORCID:, e-mail:



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