Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

E-mail this page 1

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Dissertation Information

Title: The Acquisition of Sociolinguistic Variation by Learners of Spanish in a Study Abroad Context Add Dissertation
Author: Francisco Salgado-Robles Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Florida, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies
Completed in: 2011
Linguistic Subfield(s): Sociolinguistics; Language Acquisition;
Director(s): Diana Boxer
Gillian Lord
David Pharies

Abstract: It is generally believed that study abroad (SA) is the most efficient and
successful way to acquire proficiency in a second language (L2). SA is a
crucial component of students' second language acquisition (SLA) process,
for it puts them in situations in which they can use the language on a
daily basis and interact with native speakers. More than two decades of
research focused on the second language outcomes of Spanish immersion
programs has produced a wealth of studies documenting the weaknesses and
strengths of Spanish immersion students' communicative proficiency. For the
most part, these studies have concentrated on L2 learners' acquisition of
features of the target language, typically measured by categorical, as
opposed to variable, standards. Consequently, many questions pertaining to
the acquisition of patterns of language variation common to a particular
community in a SA context remain unanswered. This dissertation explores the
extent to which L2 learners of Spanish acquire variable structures of
language -specifically, the leísmo phenomenon, i.e., the use of the dative
pronoun le(s) instead of the accusative pronouns lo(s) and la(s) as direct
objects- while participating in a five-month study abroad immersion
program. The research is comprised of two groups (N = 40; n = 20 per group)
of L2 learners of Spanish studying in two different regions of Spain where
septentrional (Valladolid, Castilla-León) and meridional (Sevilla,
Andalucía) dialects make this linguistic variation salient. In addition,
baseline data from native speakers of both regions (N = 36; n = 18 per
group) is compared to that of the L2 learners of Spanish. The present study
is a quantitative and qualitative longitudinal investigation of oral and
written data, which were elicited respectively through sociolinguistic
interviews and written tasks with participants. The results suggest that SA
learners do in fact develop an awareness of non-standard forms of the
target language, which are, to a certain degree, incorporated into their
sociolinguistic competence. In sum, this project contributes to an
extensive body of research on the SLA of object pronouns by adding
qualitative and quantitative longitudinal data, and helps to add further
knowledge about the development of L2 linguistic competence during a
sojourn abroad, and to fill a gap in the new strand of studies on the
acquisition of sociolinguistic variation due to L2 learners' exposure to
the target speech community.