The Acquisition of Sociolinguistic Competence in a Study Abroad Context
Vera Regan, Martin Howard, Isabelle Lemée
- Paperback - 184 pages
- 11 May 2009
- Multilingual Matters
- 210 x 148 (A5)
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This volume explores the relationship between 'study abroad' and the acquisition of 'sociolinguistic competence' - the ability to communicate in socially appropriate ways. The volume looks at language development and use during study abroad in France by examining patterns of variation in the speech of advanced L2 speakers. Within a variationist paradigm, fine-grained empirical analyses of speech illuminate choices the L2 speaker makes in relation to their new identity, gender patterns, closeness or distance maintained in the social context in which they find themselves. Using both cross-sectional and longitudinal data, four variable features of contemporary spoken French are analysed in a large population of advanced Irish-English speakers of French. This close-up picture provides empirical evidence by which to evaluate the wide-spread assumption that Study Abroad is highly beneficial for second language learning.
This book is a real eye opener for anyone who would equate conjugating verbs and memorizing noun genders with 'learning' a second language. Regan et al. offer a stunning demonstration that effective communication hinges on acquiring the sociolinguistic competence to interpret (and produce) the many choices among variant linguistic structures that native speakers make regularly in their everyday interactions. Exemplifying with the controversial Year Abroad experience, the authors provide a first detailed account of how this is achieved. Their results should be required reading for educators, planners and policymakers, as well as linguists of all stripes.
Shana Poplack, FRSC, Distinguished University Professor of Linguistics, University of Ottawa, Canada
This exciting new book represents a significant leap forward for research on the effects of study abroad on second language acquisition. It focuses on the sociolinguistic competence of second language learners in a university setting, an unexplored dimension of this research strand. The volume offers a careful documentation and analysis of the crucial role played by a one-year stay in France on the acquisition of key aspects of sociostylistic variation in the spoken French of advanced-level students of French as a Second Language. Second language researchers, programme planners, and teachers will undoubtedly find this volume an insightful and useful resource.
This book makes a contribution to the growing literature on study-abroad programs by focusing on the acquisition of sociolinguistic competence in learning a non-native language by means of immersion. It provides valuable information about SLA in the study-abroad
context, one that is favored by the European Union authorities in their attempt to promote language learning among the citizens ofits member states. This book constitutes invaluable endorsement for the study-abroad programs. especially providing convincing evidence for a widely-held belief that spending a year abroad favors L2 speakers' linguistic and sociolinguistic development.
Rubén Chacón-Beltrán, Journal of Sociolinguistics
Vera Regan is Professor of Sociolinguistics at University College Dublin. Her research focuses on variationist sociolinguistic approaches to Second Language Acquisition. She is Associate Member of the Centre for Research on Language Contact (CRLC), York University, Canada. Chair, Research Committee of the Association of French Language Studies, former President of the European Second Language Association, former President of the Association for Canadian Studies in Ireland, winner of the Prix du Québec, Senior Fellow of Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences, holder of two Fulbright Research Fellowships, Chevalier des Palmes Académiques. Her current research is on migration and the Polish diaspora in France and Ireland.; Martin Howard is Lecturer in French at University College, Cork, Ireland. A former President of the Association for Canadian Studies in Ireland, he is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the European Second Language Association (EUROSLA), and Treasurer of the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS). He is a former Government of Ireland Research Fellow and was a recipient of the Prix du Québec. His research focuses on Second Language Acquisition, Sociolinguistics, and Canadian Studies. He has published on (socio)linguistic variation in relation to both native speaker and learner French, as well as on the acquisition of temporality.; Isabelle Lemée is Assistant Lecturer in the Department of French at St Patrick's College in Ireland. Her research focuses on Second Language Acquisition, as well as on Canadian Studies. She is currently the Secretary of the Association for Canadian Studies in Ireland. She is also on the Committee of the Association for French Language Studies and the Association of Applied French (AFA).
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