Studies in Second Language Acquisition

Research Article

The Long-Term Retention of French by Dutch Students

Bert Weltensa1, Theo J. M. Van Elsa1 and Erik Schilsa1

a1 University of Nijmegen


The present study investigated the retention of school-learned French language skills in Dutch students across a period of 4 years following the training period. Two training levels were investigated: 4 and 6 years of French training. The skills tested were all receptive: general receptive proficiency; listening and reading comprehension; and receptive phonological, lexical, and grammatical skills. In addition, self-assessment measures were administered.

The results indicated that global skills improved, if anything, and that only lexical and, particularly, grammatical skills “attrited” during the period investigated. On the other hand, subjects' self-perception of their retention was much more negative.