Sociostylistic variation in the L3 French and L2 Irish speech of adolescents in an Irish language immersion school.

Caitriona Ni Chasaide, Vera Regan

Tipperary Institute University College Dublin, Ireland (Republic of)

TP124: Language practices and identity construction by advanced L2 and L3 speakers: the acquisition of sociostylistic variants

This paper looks at language practices in trilingual adolescents’ speech and their role in identity construction. Specifically we examine the interplay between code-switching and variation in the French of adolescents in Irish medium schools in Dublin. The adolescents in this study learn Irish from primary school; French remains the most popular foreign language in Irish schools and is studied from age 11. All participants in this study live in an urban environment, where English is the dominant societal language. They are all thus restricted users of both Irish and French. However, these students in Irish immersion education acquire Irish in a combined naturalistic and formal setting. While living and socialising in Dublin, these students spend a significant amount of time speaking a minority language. A number of the students have also spent time in predominantly Irish and French-speaking areas, where they were exposed to L1 Irish and French input and vernacular speech.

This paper develops the existing body of work on L2 sociolinguistic variation (Beebe 1981; Poplack 1988; Regan 1990; Adamson & Regan 1991; Bayley 1991; Dewaele & Regan 2001; Nadasdi & McKinnie 2003; Nagy, Blondeau & Auger 2003; Rehner, Mougeon & Nadasdi 2003; Mougeon 2006) and code-switching (Milroy & Muysken 1995; Auer 1998; Poplack 1998; Myers-Scotton 2002; Deuchar 2005), by combining it with growing bodies of work on L3 speech (Cenoz 2001; Cenoz, Hufeisen & Jessner 2001; Bayley & Schecter 2003; Safont Jordà 2005; Barnes 2006; Singleton & O Laoire 2006) and on the role of adolescent speech in identity marking (Rampton 1995; Kerswill 1996; Romaine & Lange 1998; Bucholtz 1999; Eckert & Rickford 2001; Eckert 2003).

L3 literature so far has not dealt substantially with the acquisition of sociolinguistic competence. This paper aims to deal with this aspect of acquisition. We examine the extra-linguistic factors that impact on the use of code-switching and native speaker variation patterns in L3 French, and the relationship between code-switching and L1 variation patterns in L3 French and L2 Irish. We will present both qualitative and quantitative data to support these findings. Finally we determine to what extent intermediate level speakers of French are using French and Irish as tools in adolescent identity marking.

Session: Themed Panel (part 2)
Language practices and identity construction by advanced L2 and L3 speakers: the acquisition of sociostylistic variants
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 13:45-15:15
room: 07