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Thursday, October 10 • 4:50pm - 5:15pm
Davidson: On (not) acquiring a sociolinguistic stereotype: L2-Catalan lateral production by L1-Spanish bilinguals

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On (not) acquiring a sociolinguistic stereotype: L2-Catalan lateral production by L1-Spanish bilinguals

​The production of alveolar /l/ as respectively light or dark in Spanish and Catalan is a salient distinction, afforded overt social value by Catalan-Spanish bilinguals (Arnal 2011; Davidson forthcoming; Sinner 2001). The acquisition of Catalan laterals accordingly illustrates the intersection between second language acquisition and sociolinguistics: How do L2-learners navigate the native-like acquisition of a feature that is a sociolinguistic stereotype (cf. Labov 2001) in the target language?

Laterals were elicited from 16 L1-Spanish and 16 L1-Catalan speakers from Barcelona, Spain via a word-list reading task and sociolinguistic interviews conducted in both languages. While L2-learners do not produce native-like Catalan laterals, they nonetheless velarize significantly more in Catalan than in Spanish, as well as in more casual speech. Far from unsuccessful acquisition, we argue that L2 learners’ production of stylistically stratified and distinctly Catalan laterals demonstrates their capacity to fully acquire native-like sociolinguistic speech patterns while avoiding stigmatized speech variants.

Session abstract: Variation in Second and Heritage Language Speech: Cross-linguistic Perspectives

This session brings together scholars working on the acquisition of sociolinguistic variation in a variety of non-dominant languages. The first paper outlines how such studies can contribute to sociolinguistic theory. The next papers examine the influence of Indonesian on children’s Javanese and the influence of English and communication networks on Diné Bizaad (Navajo). Other studies focus on the acquisition of sociolinguistic competence by U.S. students in France and the acquisition of the constraints on object deletion in Mandarin. The final study examines the (non)-acquisition of a socially stigmatized variant by Spanish L1 speakers in Catalonia. Taken together, the papers in this session illustrate the contributions to our understanding of the effects of language contact on second and heritage languages and to identifying the types of linguistic and social factors that are common across contexts or pairs of languages and those that are specific to particular languages or social contexts.​​​


Justin Davidson

University of California Berkeley

Thursday October 10, 2019 4:50pm - 5:15pm PDT
EMU Gumwood