Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Dane Joseph, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Marc Shelton, Ed.D.


Children who grow up hearing and speaking one language and then begin learning another often experience first-language (L1) attrition. Existing research presents different theories regarding the process and the contributing factors of L1 attrition. However, the theories and factors are often dispersed throughout the literature with little coherent presentation. This makes it difficult for researchers and some practitioners to model L1 attrition with other variables properly. This study merged conceptual and content analysis through literature reviews to identify the relevant and essential variables that play a role in L1 attrition. I reviewed 54 textual sources which presented information or studies on L1 attrition in K-12 emerging bilingual students. I identified 15 variables that I argue are both necessary and jointly sufficient for future English Language Learner (ELL) research programs to heed. These variables include age, generational status, location of study, age of arrival into the second language (L2) setting, length of time spent in L2 environment, amount of L1 input in the home, frequency of L1 use, age of onset of bilingualism, external perceptions of L1 value, external pressure to focus on L2, student attitude toward L1, amount of L1 input at school, length of time in school in L1, cross-linguistic influence, and literacy skills in L1.