The Sociolinguistic Competence of Immersion Students

Author: Raymond Mougeon, Terry Nadasdi, Katherine Rehner

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Multilingual Matters
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234mm x 156mm

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This book reports the findings of an extensive research project on the acquisition of the native norms of spoken French variation by French immersion students who have learnt their second language primarily in an educational context. The project focused on a range of phonetic, lexical and grammatical sociolinguistic variants documented in studies of contemporary first language varieties of spoken French, and assessed the extent to which the students master the linguistic and extra-linguistic factors which govern variant choice. The book also discusses pedagogical strategies to improve the students' mastery of spoken French variation. The book represents an important contribution to an under-researched aspect of advanced Second Language Acquisition in an institutional setting.

In previous studies, the team of Mougeon, Nadasdi, and Rehner has contributed greatly to our understanding of variation in second language learners' speech. The Sociolinguistic Competence of Immersion Students sets a new standard for researchers in the sociolinguistics of L2 speech and represents a major contribution to both second language acquisition and sociolinguistics.

Robert Bayley, University of California, Davis, USA

Here's a very informative book in which variationist sociolinguistics is made relevant to second language teaching! Assuming correctly that native linguistic competence includes knowledge of how forms and structures vary under specific structural and pragmatic conditions, Mougeon, Nadasdi, and Rhener offer teachers of (Canadian) French as a second language (FL2) a book that they will find very useful. Covering a wide range of linguistic variables with the relevant patterns and rates of variation, it exhorts FL2 teachers to aim at producing speakers not of bookish French but of real, natural, non-monolithic French, i.e., speakers that are aware of both the structural and social principles that govern variable linguistic communication. This is a book that will also be invaluable to students of French variationist sociolinguistics, as it synthesizes years of fieldwork and insightful analyses from a long litany of scholars who have applied the Labovianist paradigm to Canadian French. The book is richly documented about French immersion students in Canada, including dozens of figures and tables that summarize the authors' findings.

Mougeon, Nadasdi and Relmler's study of immersion students' acquisition of native norms of spoken French ofters a fresh and stimulating contribution to the relatively under-researched field of sociolinguistic competence in an inunersion context. Where the volnme is particularly successful is in presenting the findings of a major research project whilst integrating a diversity of approaches to the phenomenon. As a result, the intended readership is broad: graduate students interested in sociolinguistic variation within the field of SLA, teachers of French as a second language keen to reflect on the factors which condition their students' learning of variation, and finally policy makers for whom it is important to be aware of the 'variable use oflanguage' (p. xi) if they are to develop pedagogical materials which take the acquisition of variation by learners into consideration.

Alain Wolf, University of East Anglia in The Journal of French Language Studies, Volume 21 (2011)

Raymond Mougeon received a PhD in linguistics from McGill University. He received numerous research grants from Canada’s Social Science and Humanities Research Council and the Ontario Ministry of Education. He has written extensively on topics such as the diachrony of variation in European French, variation in the spoken French of Franco-Ontarian students and immersion students and aspects of the ethno-linguistic vitality of Ontario’s francophone community. He is current director of the Centre for Research on Language Contact on the Glendon campus of York University.

Terry Nadasdi obtained a PhD in French linguistics from the University of Toronto. His research focuses on grammatical variation in French-English language contact situations, e.g.: minority language speakers and learners of French as a second language. His research also involves the creation of online grammar checkers for English and French (e.g.: He is currently a Full Professor in the University of Alberta’s Linguistics Department.

Katherine Rehner received a PhD in Second Language Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. Her research and publications centre on the development of sociolinguistic competence by first and second language speakers of French and on the role of educational input in the development of such competence. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Linguistics and the Teaching and Learning programs in the Department of Language Studies at the University of Toronto, Mississauga.







Appendix A: Semi-directed taped interview schedule—including reading passages

Appendix B: Student questionnaire survey

Appendix C: Objectives of the Ontario Ministry of Education concerning the development of sociolinguistic competence by secondary school French immersion students

Appendix D: Results of the GoldVarb analyses of the sociolinguistic variables focused upon in the current research

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