AcqVA: Acquisition, Variation & Attrition

AcqVA retreat in Tromsø, December 2017. (Photo: Adnan Icagic)

AcqVA retreat in Tromsø, December 2017. (Photo: Adnan Icagic)

AcqVA is a joint UiT/NTNU research group. 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.