Edited by Gunther De Vogelaer and Matthias Katerbow
[Studies in Language Variation 20] 2017
► pp. 155–184
Chapter 6. What is the target variety?
The diverse effects of standard–dialect variation in second language acquisition
The coexistence of dialect and standard varieties is a challenge for adult learners of German as a second language in the Swiss context. This paper presents data from three individuals showing how they handle the two varieties in their second language system. The insights gathered on their use of dialect and/or standard in free speech and in elicited language tasks illustrate that these second language users differ substantially in the respective extent of incorporation of dialect and standard into their second language system (showing more use of standard, of dialect, or a high amount of mixing). The three individuals thereby serve as examples of the possible range of how second language learners deal with variation depending on their social experiences, their social expectations about the surrounding linguistic community, and their intended position within it. The results also reveal that even though acquisition of variation is generally intricate, some variant forms, such as relative clause markers, are more complex and used with less ease than others.
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