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Academic Paper


Title: Learner Versus Nonlearner Patterns of Stylistic Variation in Synchronous Computer-Mediated French
Author: Rémi A van Compernolle
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.personal.psu.edu/rav137/
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
Author: Lawrence Williams
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.forl.unt.edu/~lfw/
Institution: University of North Texas
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Subject Language: French
Abstract: This study analyzes stylistic variation among first-, second-, and third-year instructed learners of French engaged in synchronous French-language computer-mediated communication (CMC) and compares the results with data from nonlearner discourse in a public, noneducational synchronous CMC environment. We focus specifically on variability in 'yes/no' question (YNQ) structures and the use of the pronouns 'nous' "we" and 'on' "one" or "we" for first-person plural reference. The results suggest that whereas first- and second-year learners rarely use informal variants, third-year students approximate-but do not actually reach-native-speaker norms. Contrary to expectations, however, no positive correlation was found between the increased use of the informal pronoun and the informal YNQ structure. Finally, we argue for more in-depth case studies that combine analyses of performance data, competence data, and individual learner histories to determine when, why, and how second language users begin to recognize and emulate native speakers' sociolinguistic norms and variation.

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This article appears IN Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 31, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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