“Nativelikeness” as an identity builder for the advanced FSL learner

Françoise Mougeon

York University, Canada

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

This paper correlates the sociolinguistic competence of advanced university FSL students formerly enrolled in immersion programs in Canada to individual as well as extra-linguistic independent variables. Preliminary results from a longitudinal labovian-type research project conducted between 2005 and 2008 document the late acquisition of socio-stylistically marked variables in the L2 speech of FSL learners and the importance of the FSL learner’s extra-curricular activities and targeted engagement in the efficient use of such variables. Statistical evidence based on GoldVarb analysis of the use of some mildly-marked informal variables by those advanced FSL learners in various situations will highlight the inpact of extra-linguistic factors on the frequency of occurrence of such variables. Results will show the nature of the spectrum of socio-stylistic variation in the FSL apeech of university students, ranging from formal to hyper-formal instead of encompassing informal and vernacular varieties of speech.

Previous studies on university FSL students have focused mainly on their achieved linguistic competence and on their L2 retention after graduating from immersion high school programs (MacFarlane & Wesche 1995; Wesche, Morrison, Pawley & Ready 1986). The present study, based on the analysis of data from students’ and instructors’ speech and on the analysis of educational materials, will demonstrate that sociolinguistic and socio-stylistic awareness can still be acquired at a later stage in L2 acquisition and that it is not so much influenced by FSL educational input but highly dependent on the advanced learner’s metalinguistic capacities and specific engagements to increase the length and intensity of contact with the L2.

MacFarlane, A. & Wesche, M. 1995. Immersion outcomes: Beyond language proficiency.Revue canadienne des langues vivantes, 51, (2), 250-274.

Mougeon, F. (2007). Metalinguistic awareness and the acquisition of stylistic variation in former immersion students attending university. Paper presented at the XIIIth Biennal International Seminar of the Association of Canadian Studies in Ireland, Focus on Education in Canada and Ireland: Topics and Trends, Dublin, Ireland.

Mougeon, F. & Rehner, K. (2007c). When will immersion students sound like native speakers of French? An assessment of the socio-stylistic competence in FSL of former immersion students in university. Paper accepted for presentation at NWAV36, Philadelphia.

Mougeon, F. & Rehner, K. (in press). On or nous? Variable use of 4th person pronouns by university FSL students. Article submitted to Studies in second Language Acquisition.

Wesche, M., Morrison, F., Pawley, C. & Ready, D. 1986. Post-secondary follow up of former French Immersion students in the Ottawa area: A pilot study. Final report to the Secretary of State (Official Languages in Education Division).

Session: Themed Panel (part 1)
Language practices and identity construction by advanced L2 and L3 speakers: the acquisition of sociostylistic variants
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 11:00-12:30
room: 07