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Sociolinguistic Agency in the Learning and Teaching of Regional Variation: Revisiting Pedagogical Norms


Sociolinguistic Agency in the Learning and Teaching of Regional Variation: Revisiting Pedagogical Norms

Ruivivar, June ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3471-2084 (2020) Sociolinguistic Agency in the Learning and Teaching of Regional Variation: Revisiting Pedagogical Norms. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Pedagogical norms for teaching regional varieties of a target language suggest teaching features that are widely used and valued by the language community, and that support overall linguistic development. This dissertation considers the place of sociolinguistic agency, or learners’ willingness to adopt local linguistic conventions, in this pedagogical norm. It consists of three studies investigating social and affective challenges in the acquisition of features typical of Quebec French, and exploring potential pedagogical solutions to these challenges.
Study One compared native and near-native speakers’ use and understanding of the -tu question particle, a typical QF vernacular feature. Ten dyads consisting of native and near-native speakers completed tasks in casual, semi-controlled, and controlled situations, and a short interview probing their awareness and understanding of QF question variation. Despite having higher metalinguistic awareness, near-native speakers significantly underused -tu compared to native speakers. They tended to favour -tu in lexicalized expressions and slightly overused it in controlled situations.
Study Two investigated the effects of engagement and social networks on sociolinguistic performance. Twenty-one advanced QF learners completed a social network questionnaire and a sociolinguistic interview, which provided data on engagement and sociolinguistic performance. Sociolinguistic performance varied according to type of feature, engagement, and satisfaction with network support. Use of informal features (first-person on and ne deletion) correlated positively with high engagement. The stigmatized colloquial vernacular -tu was virtually absent, and the non-stigmatizednon-colloquial vernacular, subject doubling, correlated with social network satisfaction. Perceptions of QF and attitudes towards the QF community also appeared to play a role.
Study Three presents the theoretical framework, design, and methodology for a classroom study examining the effects of concept-based instruction on learners’ understanding, appropriateness judgments, and emerging sociolinguistic agency. The study illustrates how sociolinguistic agency might be addressed in the classroom and evaluated as a pedagogical outcome. Drawing on these studies, the thesis proposes adding an agentive criterion to the pedagogical norm. This criterion considers learners’ identities, attitudes, and perceptions of the regional variety in deciding which features to teach. It offers suggestions for developing and applying the agentive criterion and broader implications for the teaching and study of sociolinguistic variation.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Ruivivar, June
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Date:18 July 2020
Thesis Supervisor(s):Collins, Laura
ID Code:988107
Deposited On:29 Jun 2021 20:52
Last Modified:29 Jun 2021 20:52
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