Pädagogische Hochschule Vorarlberg
Davydova, Julia; Dr. habil.
Davydova, Julia; Dr.
2019 – 2020
The study reported here explores the role of various social factors in the L2 acqusition of vernacular variation. In so doing, it investigates acquisition of probabilistic constraints on the use of a globally available innovation, quotative be like, as a diagnostic linguistic variable. Drawing on data obtained from 37 individuals from three age cohorts all living in Mannheim, Germany, and applying the variationist method of evaluation, I show that German learners managed to acquire the variable grammar of quotative be like. I also test for a diverse set of sociolinguistic and sociopsychological variables by way of exploring their relative contribution to the process of acquiring structured variation by adult learners. The results of mixed-effects modelling (Johnson 2009) show that acquisition of quotative be like is mediated by age, gender and learners’ linguistic identity. I conclude that EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners’ (implicit) knowledge about structured variation is an inherent component of their sociolinguistic competence, while drawing English teachers’ attention to the general importance of the issue concerning learners’ knowledge about structured variability.