Workshops

(2012) Variation in Language Acquisition (ViLA)

wwu_munster_logoDespite repeated calls for in-depth research the acquisition of sociolinguistic variation remains to be an under-investigated topic both in sociolinguistics and in language acquisition research. Yet several reasons can be given why children, adolescents and L2-learners are a worthwhile topic of investigation: first, the ability to perceive and employ variation in speech is an integral part of people’s linguistic competence, and the field of language acquisition cannot afford to study the acquisition process in a sociolinguistic vacuum. In addition, the process of language transmission has been quoted for more than a century as a potential cause of language change. For instance, processes of dialect levelling, loss and koinèisation are believed to take place primarily in children and adolescents, whereas second language acquisition is believed to underlie change through language contact. Finally, as do acquisition processes in general, the acquisition of sociolinguistic variation might cast over issues relating to the relationship between language and mind, including the language learning process and the nature of grammatical knowledge.

The present workshop addresses sociolinguistic variation both in first and second/foreign languages. We hope to bring together scholars working on the acquisition of variation in different languages, in order to engage in cross-linguistic comparison and set a research agenda for the near future.

Venue
The workshop will take place in Münster, in the ‘Haus der Niederlande’ (i.e. in the historical centre of the city; see http://www.uni-muenster.de/HausDerNiederlande/ (in German)). Anyone in need of accommodation for the night may contact the organizers (gunther.devogelaer@uni-muenster.de)

Call for Papers
We welcome papers dealing with, but not restricted to, the following topics:

  • The development of sociolinguistic monitoring and/or the awareness of language variation, including attitudes towards variation and/or different varieties
  • Acquisition and processes of language change (both ‘system-internal’ change and change through contact, including dialect levelling, koinèisation, and creolization)
  • Sociolinguistic variation and grammatical models (rule-based, item-based, etc.; including models of language learning)
  • Style shifting and accommodation in children, adolescents and adult language learners
  • The socio-pragmatic circumstances in which variation is acquired, including the effect of the linguistic repertoire within a speech community (diglossia vs. diaglossia), the role of caregivers vis-à-vis the peer group, etc.
  • Detecting speech disorders in children acquiring non-standard varieties

To participate, send your one-page abstract to Gunther de Vogelaer  and Matthias Katerbow, to arrive no later than October 15, 2011. Notification of acceptance will be sent out before October 31.

(2011) Acquisition of Variation (ICLaVE 6)

Recent years have seen a number of interesting studies on the acquisition of language variation in different languages. We hope to bring together scholars working on the acquisition of variation in different European languages in a panel which will be submitted to be held at ICLaVE-6 in Freiburg, in order to engage in cross-linguistic comparison and set a research agenda for the near future.

Call For Papers
Despite repeated calls for in-depth research the acquisition of variation remains to be an underinvestigated topic both in sociolinguistics and in language acquisition research. Yet several reasons can be given why children and adolescents are a worthwhile topic of investigation: first, the process of language transmission has been quoted for more than a century as a potential cause of dialect levelling and loss. In addition, processes of koinèisation are believed to take place primarily in children and adolescents. However, the precise socio-pragmatic circumstances underlying faithful dialect transmission, levelling and koinèisation remain poorly understood. Second, it has been claimed that in acquisition there is no “time gap between the acquisition of grammatical competence and the development of sociolinguistic competence” (Chambers 2003:174). If this is correct, the ability to perceive and employ variation in speech is an integral part of children’s linguistic competence, and the field of language development cannot afford to study the acquisition process in a sociolinguistic vacuum. It is, for instance, unclear whether the acquisition of a standardised variety yields reliable diagnostics for language disorders in children acquiring a non-standard variety. In addition, the study of the acquisition of variation is bound to lead to important insights into the role of the input in the language acquisition process, and may be instrumental in refining existing models of language learning.

We welcome papers dealing with, but not restricted to, the following topics:

  • style shifting and accommodation in children and adolescents
  • the socio-pragmatic circumstances in which variation is acquired, including the effect of the linguistic repertoire within a speech community (diglossia vs.diaglossia), the role of caregivers vis-à-vis the peer group…
  • the development of sociolinguistic monitoring and/or the awareness of
  • language variation, including children and adolescents’ attitudes towards variation
  • the role of children in processes of change, including dialect levelling, regiolectisation and koinèisation
  • detecting language disorders in children acquiring non-standard varieties
  • the importance of variation in child language for models of language learning, and grammar in general

Researchers interested in taking part in the panel are asked to signal their interest and provide a short description of their intended topic to Gunther De Vogelaer (Uni Münster) and Matthias Katerbow (Uni Marburg). Abstracts will be submitted along with the panel description to the scientific committee of ICLaVE.