Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

What we don't learn in the classroom: The acquisition of sociolinguistic competence during study abroad
by Kennedy, Kristen M., Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2012, 226; 3555343
Abstract (Summary)

This study examines the acquisition of target-like patterns of variation by 22 American learners of French during study abroad (SA) in France and correlates such acquisition with the creation of dense, multiplex, exchange-based social networks (Milroy 1980) with native speakers (NSs) during the SA period. In this longitudinal study, naturalistic speech data recorded via sociolinguistic interviews (Labov 1966) provide empirical evidence for the incipient acquisition of three phonological variables showing stylistic variation in NS speech: 1) the elision of clitic nucleic vowels; 2) the elision of /l/ in 3rd person subject pronouns, and; 3) the reduction of word-final obstruent-liquid consonant clusters. Speech data are compared and correlated, using a mixed-effects model (Rbrul, Johnson 2009), with the results of a social network strength scale (SNSS, Milroy 1980:139) designed by the researcher for the SA learning context. Data for this study include over 5,500 tokens of clitic nucleic vowels, 1,500 tokens of /l/ in 3rd person subject pronouns, and 1200 tokens of word-final consonant clusters. Results demonstrate that phonological variation patterns are acquired in a predictable order based on token type and collocation, that social networks with NSs are statistically significant predictors of phonological variation patterns for two of the three variables, and that social factors, such as previous (short-term) contact with French or coursework in French are not statistically significant predictors of phonological variation patterns among L2 French learners.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Webb, Eric Russell, Bayley, Robert J.
Commitee: Timm, Lenora A.
School: University of California, Davis
Department: French
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics, Multicultural Education, Sociolinguistics, Language
Keywords: French as a foreign language, Phonology, Social networks, Study abroad, Variation
Publication Number: 3555343
ISBN: 978-1-267-96863-0
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