Awareness of and attitudes toward variation in L2: Origins, prevalence and implications for second/foreign language teaching
AdvisorGriego Jones, Toni
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe present study investigated awareness of and attitudes toward language variation among college level learners of German as a foreign language. The first part, language samples of varieties of English and German, was presented to students with Likert-type/Osgood semantic differential response sheets to explore patterns of reactions indicative of students' attitudes. The second part, a questionnaire including demographic items, items on German language background, and special items on language variation in English and German, was designed to examine possible connections between awareness and attitude in English, in German, and across languages, as well as any potentially related demographic or linguistic background factors. The third part, interviews of volunteers, was included to provide qualitative insights into the web of life experiences, linguistic background, and awareness of and attitudes toward language variation. The underlying purpose of the study was the establishment of baseline data on awareness of and attitude toward language variation among college students with a view to incorporating these findings into language planning, teacher training, material development, and classroom practice. Variation awareness was found to be well-developed among students, especially in L1 where up to 90% declared having experienced variation as opposed to 70% for L2, German. Attitudes toward variation were quite positive in L1 and slightly negative in L2. Awareness and attitudes were found to correlate strongly both within the languages and across languages. Overall, students found it important to learn about variation in L1 and L2 (4 out of 5 on a scale from 1-5). According to interviewees, language variation has a strong cultural component and awareness thereof has the potential to enhance communication. Based on these findings, the following recommendations can be formulated. Students' rich linguistic background and sometimes dormant metalinguistic capacities should be taken advantage of. Curricula, materials, and teacher training modules reflecting a concern for language variation should be developed. Finally, collaboration between L1 and L2 instructors and/or programs could contribute to disentangling the web of variation awareness and attitudes, cognition and affect, acceptability, appropriacy and critical language use.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading and Culture