The Korean Studies section at the Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies cordially invites you to a guest lecture by:

Hyeon-Sook Park
(Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea)

The typical situation for internationally adopted children is that development in their first language (L1), which begins in their countries of origin, is interrupted upon their arrival in the adoptive country, and they are forced to learn a new language without having any real opportunities to maintain and develop their L1. It is only since the last decade that researchers have begun to take an interest in L1 attrition among international adoptees. The assertion by Pallier and his associates (e.g. Pallier et al. 2003, Ventureyra & Pallier 2004, Ventureyra et al. 2004)  that  adoptees’  L1  is  totally  lost  has  attracted  a  great  deal  of  attention in  the literature. Two issues derived from their studies – i.e. whether adoptees have lost their L1 completely and whether relearning can help them recover their L1 if it is not completely lost – have begun to generate debate among researchers.

This study reports some results from a research project on language reactivation among Korean adoptees in Sweden. The main purpose of the study is to examine whether or not adoptees’ pre-existing knowledge of L1 has an impact when they attempt to relearn the language as adults. The present study focuses on the perception and grammaticality judgement tests. Results show that Korean adoptees’ early L1 experience has left traces of the language, and that these traces can have an effect on their phonetic perception when they relearn the language as adults. The finding that the re-exposed adoptees performed better than the native Swedish learners with no previous exposure to Korean indicates that the greatest impact on retrieving L1 knowledge comes from relearning.