AcqVA: Acquisition, Variation & Attrition

The AcqVA group in Stiklestad, June 2015

AcqVA is a virtual research center, jointly organized by the LAVA group at UiT and the LCIS group at NTNU. Our members are involved in an increasing number of collaborative research projects. Here is a description of AcqVA’s purpose and vision:

Humans are seemingly unique in the animal kingdom in that we have language; systems enabling communication about any topic, be it past, present or future. In fact, humans are not limited to one language, but can acquire several under the right conditions. Al­though undoub­tedly a cultural object, lan­guage is also a funda­men­tal part of the mind/brain of a human being, the constitution of which we refer to as a mental gram­mar. Changes in states of linguistic knowledge, be it in develop­ment (acqui­sition) or possible erosion over the life­span (attri­tion), exa­mined across complementary populations and multiple lan­guage com­binations (variation), provide crucial know­ledge about the organi­za­tion of mental gram­mars. AcqVA conducts research based on real-life situ­a­tions, re­flect­ing today’s globa­lized world where learning mul­tiple lan­guages at various points in the lifetime has become increasingly common. AcqVA’s vision is to provide ground­breaking data and novel theories that will sub­stan­tially increase our understanding of how mental gram­mars may vary, how they develop in children and adults, and change under condi­tions of reduced input and use.