Variation in Linguistics: Second Language Acquisition, Discourse Studies, Sociolinguistics, Syntax
Language is acquired, comprehended, and produced in a rule-based fashion; nonetheless, variation in language is constantly observable—from alternating forms used by second and third language speakers to systematic changes in linguistic rules which eventually come to characterize entirely different language varieties. Therefore, understanding variation helps linguists understand the very forces that shape language itself. This book presents quantitative and qualitative research from interdisciplinary perspectives: second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, discourse studies and syntax. These ten chapters shed empirical light on the variables that result in systematic variation in language. From the influence of previously learned languages on the acquisition of a third language, to how social variables impact the phonetics of French political speaking styles, to how different types of comparatives in Jordanian Arabic can be distinguished by features within a syntactic hierarchy of functional projections, the chapters identify the linguistic factors which are behind the heterogeneity of structures in their individual topics of investigation.
Vanessa Sheu is a PhD candidate at the Department of Linguistics of Purdue University (USA). Her interests include psycholinguistics, sentence processing, and heritage speaker syntax. Her current research examines online syntactic and semantic cue sensitivity during garden-path processing by heritage speakers via a self-paced listening paradigm.
Josh Weirick is a post-doctoral fellow at the Aphasia Research Laboratory at Purdue University (USA). His interests include linguistic theory, language and aging, and language processing in aphasia. His current work investigates the influence of discourse-contextual variables on incremental sentence processing by older adults and persons with aphasia.
Alexis Zhou is a PhD candidate at the Department of Linguistics of Purdue University (USA). Her research interests include phonology, second language acquisition, and the phonetics of East Asian languages. Her recent manuscript, The effect of allophonic variability on L2 contrast perception: Evidence from perception of English vowels, is featured in JASA Express Letters (JASA-EL).
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