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Journal of Sociolinguistics 8/3, 2004: 408^432

The learning of spoken French variation by immersion students from Toronto, Canada
Raymond Mougeon
York University, Canada

Katherine Rehner
York University, Canada

Terry Nadasdi
University of Alberta, Canada
This study on the learning of sociolinguistic variants by 41 adolescents from a French immersion program in Toronto, Canada, synthesizes the ndings of our research on this topic. This article provides answers to the following questions. First, do the immersion students use the same range of sociolinguistic variants as do speakers of Quebec French, who are used in our research as a rst language (L1) benchmark? Second, do they use variants with the same discursive frequency as do L1 speakers? Third, is their use of variants correlated with the same linguistic constraints observable in L1 speech? Finally, what are the independent variables inuencing their learning of variants, for example: treatment of variants by immersion teachers and authors of French language arts materials used in immersion programs; interactions with L1 speakers; inuence of the students L1(s); inuence of intra-systemic factors ^ markedness of variants; and inuence of the students social characteristics ^ social standing, sex?

KEYWORDS: Sociolinguistic competence, second language acquisition, French immersion, sociolinguistic variation, educational input

INTRODUCTION In this study we report the ndings of a research project investigating the learning of sociolinguistic variation by adolescent students enrolled in a French immersion program in Toronto, Canada. Our study is part of a relatively recent strand of second language acquisition (SLA) research that focuses on the learning of sociolinguistic variation by advanced second language (L2) learners in a variety of settings. This strand of research, started in the 1990s (Adamson and Regan 1991), builds on prior studies (e.g., more recently, Ellis1987; Huebner1985; Tarone 1988) that have investigated the variable nature of the interlanguage of L2 learners ^ what we refer to as Type 1 variation. Studies of Type 1 variation focus on L2 learners alternation between native and non-native forms or between
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more than one non-native form to express a given notion that is conveyed in the target language by only one form. Note that in these studies, such alternations are a sign that the learners are on their way to acquiring an invariant target form and that success in mastering it is indicated by the cessation of variation. The strand of research of which our project is a part investigates what we refer to as Type 2 variation. In contrast to research focused on Type 1 variation, studies of Type 2 variation examine aspects of the target language where native speakers display sociolinguistic variation, that is they alternate between variants as a function of linguistic and extra-linguistic factors. In such research, successful acquisition by L2 learners is indicated by the speakers knowledge of the full range of native variants, their use of such variants at frequencies comparable to that of rst language (L1) speakers of the target language, and their observance of linguistic and extra-linguistic constraints on variation. Interestingly, although studies of Type 1 and Type 2 variation have clearly dierent foci, they are not entirely independent of each other, since researchers investigating Type 1 variation pay attention to the inuence of both linguistic and extra-linguistic factors and since researchers investigating Type 2 variation may have to account for, in the speech of L2 learners, the presence of non-native forms alternating with target-language variants used to express a given notion. Despite the recency of research on Type 2 variation, there is now a substantial body of studies of this type, particularly in relation to the learning of English and French as second languages. Interestingly, there are more studies of Type 2 variation in L2 French than in L2 English (for a synthesis of Type 2 studies focused on L2 French, the reader can consult Mougeon, Nadasdi and Rehner 2002 and Rehner, Mougeon and Nadasdi 2003).1 Among the L2 French studies there are more that, like our research, have focused on learners in educational settings (e.g. Dewaele and Regan 2001; Mougeon and Rehner 2001; Regan 1996; Thomas 2002b) than in naturalistic ones (Blondeau, Nagy, Sanko and Thibault 2002; Sanko, Thibault, Nagy, Blondeau, Fonollosa and Gagnon 1997), whereas the L2 English studies are chiey focused on learners in naturalistic settings (e.g. Adamson and Regan 1991; Major in press). Studies investigating Type 2 variation use L1 speech data as a benchmark to assess the learning of sociolinguistic variation by L2 learners. Typically, they look for evidence that the L2 learners have learned the same variants that are used by the L1 speakers and that they have internalized the linguistic and extralinguistic constraints on variation that are observed by the L1 speakers, and they also measure the inuence of a variety of independent variables (e.g. contacts with L1speakers, learners L1s) on the learning of sociolinguistic variation.

METHODOLOGY Our research on the learning of sociolinguistic variation (Type 2 variation) by advanced L2 learners of French in an educational setting focuses on 41 grade
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9 and12 French immersion students inToronto, Canada.The immersion programs in which these students were enrolled are characterized by 50 percent Frenchmedium instruction in grades 5 through 8, followed by 20 percent in high school. Two sampling criteria were used to select the 41 students. The students were drawn in equal proportions from three levels of French-language competence (high, mid, and low) as judged by their teachers and from homes where French was not used as a means of communication.2 The data from these 41 students consist of answers to a questionnaire survey on their social backgrounds, their patterns of language use at home, at school, and in the community, their language attitudes, etc. (cf. Tables 1 and 2). All in all, these questionnaire data reveal that Table 1: Social characteristics, French language exposure, and home language of the student sample
Characteristics Sex Female Male Social Class { Middle Upper working Amount of French-medium schooling 0^25% 26^37% 38% Exposure to TVand radio in French Never Occasionally Time in a Francophone environment 0 hours^1 day 2^6 days 7^20 days 3 weeks Length of stay in a Francophone family 0 hours 1^13 days 2 weeks Languages spoken at home English Romance Other
{

Grade 9

Grade 12

Total

13 8 10 9 2 14 5 16 5 8 6 6 1 15 5 1 10 4 7

17 3 14 6 6 13 1 9 11 4 3 9 4 12 1 7 10 4 6

30 11 24 15 8 27 6 25 16 12 9 15 5 27 6 8 20 8 13

Two students did not provide sucient information for their social class to be determined
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Table 2: Students reports of their curricular and extracurricular patterns of French language use
Always English 26 39 31 10 29 (Never use French) 0 0 4 23 28 29 22 32 Often Half English/ Often English Half French French 15 2 10 21 10 0 0 0 9 2 0 0 0 1 0 Always French 0 0 0 0 0 (Usually use French) 4 27 4 0 0 0 0 0

Media usage Television Radio Music Books Magazines

Usage of French In class with teachers { In class with other students { At school with friends { Outside school with friends At home with family members In stores and restaurants On the street with strangers
{

1 2 13 12 9 8 12 4

2 3 10 3 1 2 0 0

3 7 8 2 3 2 7 5

One or more of the students did not indicate their French usage in these situations

these students have only marginal exposure to French outside the classroom setting, a situation that is not unusual in Anglophone Canada and that underscores the fact that most French immersion students are highly dependent on their educational input for exposure to, and opportunities to use, French. The data also consist of the speech produced by the 41 students during individual, face-to-face, semi-directed, taped interviews. The interviews, all conducted by the same native Francophone, followed a set of non-challenging, non-invasive questions about the students daily activities. The interview design was inspired by that employed in Mougeon and Beniaks (1991) sociolinguistic research on the spoken French of Franco-Ontarian adolescents, which in turn also reected that used by previous sociolinguistic research on L1 French in Quebec (e.g. Sanko and Cedergrens program of research on Montreal spoken French ^ for a description of the initial corpus and data-gathering methodology used by Sanko and Cedergren, see D. Sanko, G. Sanko, Laberge and Topham 1976) and follows the general principles of the Labovian sociolinguistic interview. In relation to the learning of sociolinguistic variation by the 41 French immersion students, our research aims at providing answers to the following questions:
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1. Do these students use the same range of sociolinguistic variants as do native speakers of Quebec French, the L1 speakers with whom they have had, and are most likely to continue to have, contacts? 2. Do they use variants with the same discursive frequency as do L1 speakers? 3. Is their use of variants correlated with the same linguistic constraints observable in L1 French? 3 4. What are the independent variables that inuence their learning of variants, for example: treatment of variants by French immersion teachers and authors of French language arts materials used in immersion programs; interactions with L1 speakers; inuence of the students rst language (L1); inuence of intra-systemic factors ^ markedness of the variants; and inuence of the students social characteristics ^ social standing, sex? To answer the above questions, the present article reviews the ndings of our previous research that has examined a total of 13 sociolinguistic variables in the spoken French of the 41 immersion students. These 13 variables have been analyzed using the statistical program GoldVarb (Rand and Sanko 1990), which determines the signicance of the inuence of the various independent variables that, we have hypothesized, would impact on the frequency of variant use by the immersion students. Many of these 13 variables we have examined are grammatical: 1. rst person plural subject pronouns on versus nous (both meaning we) ^ see Rehner, Mougeon and Nadasdi (2003); 2. retention versus deletion of the negative particle ne ^ see Rehner and Mougeon (1999); 3. alternation between auxiliaries avoir (to have) and e tre (to be) in the past tenses ^ see Knaus and Nadasdi (2001); 4. future verb forms (periphrastic, inected, present) ^ see Nadasdi, Mougeon and Rehner (2003); 5. rst person singular periphrastic future verb forms (je vais, je vas, mas all meaning I am going to) ^ see Nadasdi, Mougeon and Rehner (2003); 6. alternation among the restrictive expressions juste, seulement, rien que, and ne . . . que (all meaning only) ^ see Mougeon and Rehner (2001); 7. use of singular versus plural verb forms to express the third person plural ^ see Nadasdi (2001); a fait que, 8. alternation among the expressions of consequence donc, alors, c and so (all meaning therefore) ^ see Rehner and Mougeon (2003); and 9. alternation between prepositions chez and su and prepositional locution a ' la maison (all meaning at/to ones home) ^ see DiCesare (in progress). Others of these 13 variables we have examined are lexical: 10. nouns indicating remunerated work (travail, emploi, job, ouvrage) ^ see Nadasdi and McKinnie (2003); and
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11. verbs indicating residence (habiter, vivre, rester, demeurer) ^ see Nadasdi and McKinnie (2003). Finally, the remaining variables we have examined are phonetic: 12. deletion versus retention of schwa ^ see Uritescu, Mougeon and Handouleh (2002); and 13. deletion versus retention of /l/ ^ see Mougeon, Nadasdi, Uritescu and Rehner (2001). All the variables mentioned above have been attested in corpora of spoken Quebec or Ontario French and have been the object of variationist studies that looked at the inuence of linguistic and extra-linguistic parameters on variant choice. We use primarily the ndings of studies on Quebec French as baseline data to assess the learning of sociolinguistic variation by the French immersion students. The Ontario French research is used only when the variable has not been studied in Quebec French. It can be pointed out that Ontarios French-speaking communities are, to a large extent, the result of migratory currents from Quebec and, thus, it is no surprise that studies comparing both Quebec and Ontario French have found these varieties to be largely convergent (see, for instance, Mougeon and Beniak 1991). Hence, in using Ontario French data when Quebec French data is unavailable we are not departing too far from our chosen L1 norm. The variants that correspond to the 13 variables mentioned above fall into three basic categories that roughly correspond to three points on a sociostylistic continuum, namely vernacular, mildly marked, and formal variants. Vernacular variants do not conform to the rules of Standard French, are typical of informal speech, are inappropriate in formal settings, are associated with speakers from the lower social strata, and are usually stigmatized. Mildly marked variants, like vernacular variants, do not conform to Standard French and are typical of the informal register, but may also be used in formal situations. However, compared with vernacular variants, mildly marked variants demonstrate considerably less social or gender stratication and are not stigmatized. Formal variants conform to the rules of Standard French, are typical of careful speech and written French, and are strongly associated with members of the upper social strata. Finally, in order to assess the eect of the French immersion students educational input on their learning of sociolinguistic variation, we examined two kinds of educational corpora: (1) a sample of spoken French produced in the classroom by seven French immersion teachers from the Greater Toronto and Ottawa areas (collected by Allen, Cummins, Harley and Swain 1987);4 and (2) three series of French language arts teaching materials (Basque and McLaughlin 1996a, 1996b; Deslauriers and Gagnon 1995, 1997; Le Dorze and Morin 1994; McLaughlin and Niedre 1998a, 1998b; Roy Nicolet and Jean-Co te 1994) used in grade 5 and 6 immersion
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programs in Ontario, including the school district where we gathered the French immersion student corpus. The reason for selecting these grade levels for the pedagogical materials is that the formal teaching of French stops at this level, a point after which French is taught primarily via literature and other such means.

RESULTS The results of our previous research on 13 variables are synthesized in Table 4. Table 3 provides information on the sociostylistic status of the variants associated with these variables in L1 Canadian French. Our research on these 13 variables has brought to light a number of interesting trends:
The immersion students never use vernacular variants or use them only marginally

a) fait que, ouvrage, and rester Table 4 shows that the vernacular variants mas, (c are entirely absent in the students speech and that rien que and nous-autres on are practically non-existent. Among those factors that explain these ndings, are the following: 1. the relatively limited contacts that the immersion students have had with L1 speakers outside school; 2. the high likelihood that the students have not, or have rarely, been exposed to these variants in the school context, as suggested by the immersion teachersclassroom speech; 3. the absence of these vernacular features in the French language arts materials; and 4. the vernacular status of these variants that may have caused the Francophones with whom the immersion students have interacted to avoid these forms in the students presence. Only one other previous study has investigated the use of vernacular variants by L2 learners of French in an educational setting, namely Dewaele and Regan (2001). These authors found that their learners used vernacular content words such as sympa swell, mec guy, and moche uglyquite sparingly.
The immersion students use mildly marked variants at levels of frequency considerably below those of native speakers of Quebec French

Table 4 shows that this trend holds true for ve of the six mildly marked variants: deletion of /l/, schwa, and ne and use of je vas, and on. For each of the variants the students frequency of use is considerably below that of the L1 speakers. However, the degree of this discrepancy is a function of the variable
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Table 3: Sociostylistic status of the variants in L1 Quebec French


Sociostylistic status of variants Linguistic variables
Ne use Ne non-use Juste Rien que Seulement Ne . . . que C a fait que Alors Donc Je vas inf. Mas inf. Je vais inf. Periphrastic Inected Present On Nous-autres on Nous Plural forms Sing. forms tre E Avoir Chez 1 ' l a maison A Other Chez 2 Su Other Travail Job Ouvrage Emploi Poste Rester Demeurer Vivre Habiter Schwa use Schwa non-use /l/ use /l/ non-use su chez nous autres on on rien que

Vernacular

Mildly marked
juste

Formal
ne seulement ne . . . que

a fait que c

alors donc je vas je vais

mas

inected

nous

avoir

e tre

job ouvrage

emploi travail poste

rester

habiter demeurer

/l/ non-use

/l/ use

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/ / use

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Table 4: Frequency of variants (%) for L1 speakers of Quebec French, French language arts materials, French immersion teachers, French immersion students

Materials

French immersion students

Linguistic variables Dialogues 97 3 0 0 0 100 0 33 67 0 0 100 1 0 99 1 76 23 0 78 15 10 0 90 15 1 79 5 53.9 0.1 46 0 71 29 70 27 Native variants

L1 Quebec French

Texts

French immersion teachers

Non-native usages 3 deletion of pas juste used to the left of the verb

Ne use Ne non-use

1 99

99.99 0.01

Juste Rien que Seulement Ne . . . que

41 33 25 1

1 0 14 85

C a fait que Alors Donc {

55 43 2

0 77 23

7 so

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Je vas inf. Mas inf.* Je vais inf.

60 28 12

0 0 100

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Periphrastic Inected Present 22 0 78 100 0 100 0 100 0 0 100 0 0 0 0 0 100 0 insucient data 100 0 0 23 0 57 56 6 0 38 0 32 56 12 20 42 23 95 5 78 22 100 0 81 19 use of avoir with aller 15 chez la maison, dans poss. maison, a ' strong pronoun, etc. 20 dans la maison de, au la maison de, etc. 83 0 17 55 0 45

73 20 7

12 87.9 0.1

32 67 1

79 18 3

67 10 10

13 innitive, non-native inected future, conditional

On Nous-autres on Nous

95 4 1

14 0 86

Plural forms Sing. forms* tre E Avoir

98 2

100 0

67 33

100 0

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Chez 1 { ' la maison A Other

62 31 7

18 82 0

Chez 2 { Su Other

58 28 14

80 0 20

Travail Job Ouvrage Emploi Poste

35 29 14 14 8

60 0 0 40 0

417

418

Table 3: (continued)

Materials

French immersion students

Linguistic variables Dialogues

L1 Quebec French

Texts

French immersion teachers

Native variants

Non-native usages

Rester Demeurer Vivre Habiter 97 3 99 1 ** 98 2 ** 85 15

64 20 10 6

0 3

57 40

0 0 0 100

0 0 0 100

0 0 40 60

Schwa use Schwa non-use

35 65

100 0

/l/ use /l/ non-use

7 93

100 0

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* %s are from Mougeon and Beniaks corpus of Ontario French ** No recordings of the teachersspeech are available { Chez 1 refers to contexts in which the subject and the dweller are the same person and chez 2 refers to contexts where they are not. For this case of LV, we examined textbooks 1A, 1B, and 2 and workbooks 1A, 1B, and 2 of the series Pont vers le futur (Basque and McLaughlin 1996a, 1996b; McLaughlin and Niedre 1998a, 1998b) and not the teaching materials described earlier. Finally, due to sparseness of occurrences of the variants, we did not calculate separate rates for the two types of texts under study { In the teaching materials examined, conjunction donc is rarely used between two clauses. It is, however, frequently used in a post-verbal position in the second clause (e.g. il se faisait tard, il est donc parti it was getting late, so he left). In such a syntactic construction, it is not possible to use variants alors or a) fait que. For this reason, these uses of donc were excluded from the analysis of LV (c

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under consideration. Specically, the students rate of /l/ deletion falls 91 percent below that of the L1 speakers, ne deletion 72 percent below, je vas 52 percent, schwa deletion 50 percent, and on use 40 percent. These dierences likely reect the complex inuence of several factors and it would be interesting to identify them through further research. For instance, why is it that the immersion students almost never delete /l/ in subject pronouns il(s), whereas they delete schwa more often? This question is even more intriguing when one bears in mind the fact that, as Table 4 shows, the L1 speakers (and probably the immersion teachers as well 5) do the reverse: they delete /l/ almost categorically in pronouns il(s) and delete schwa frequently, but less often than /l/. One possible answer to this question may lie in the inuence of English phonology. To our knowledge there are no dialects of English where /l/ can be deleted in word nal position, while the deletion of mid vowels is a frequent phenomenon (e.g. for instance [f.ainst ns/ fO.ainst ns < f.ainst ns]). In other words, the phonological rule of schwa deletion would appear to be easier to learn than the morphophonological rule of /l/ deletion. Furthermore, certain English cognates of French words do not feature a schwa where the French words have one (e.g. exactly ^ exactement ; government ^ gouvernement) and, hence, it is possible that these English cognates might reinforce schwa deletion in the pronunciation of their French counterparts. A further question would be,Why is the mildly marked variant on more easily acquired than ne deletion? One possible answer to this question may lie in the fact that the immersion teachers and the French language arts materials use on considerably more often than they delete ne (see Table 4). The fact that L2 learners of French use mildly marked variants at rates of frequency below those of L1 speakers has also been documented by Dewaele (1992), Regan (1996), Sax (1999), and Thomas (2002a).
The immersion students overuse formal variants in comparison to native speakers of Quebec French

As Table 4 shows, the high frequencies found for the immersion students use of the formal variants ne, seulement, alors, donc, je vais, nous, e tre, emploi, travail, habiter, schwa, and /l/ contrast, in many cases quite sharply, with the much lower frequencies of these variants in L1 speech. Two principal explanations can be oered to account for this nding: (1) the immersion students have mostly been exposed to French in the classroom context and Table 4 shows that the immersion teachers and the educational materials, to an even greater extent, favor formal variants; and (2) the immersion students have lacked opportunities to be exposed to the spoken French of L1 speakers outside this context, which might otherwise have reduced the standardization of their speech. The overuse of formal variants by L2 learners of French in an educational setting has been also documented by Dewaele (1992), Regan (1996), Sax (1999), and Thomas (2002a).
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There are exceptions to the above three trends, namely the immersion students unexpected use of vernacular variants, their higher-than-expected use of mildly marked variants, and their under-use of certain formal variants

As Table 4 shows, there are three variables where, contrary to expectations, the immersion students use vernacular variants (job and avoir), and display higher levels of use of mildly marked variants than L1 speakers (use of singular verb forms in the third-person plural). One likely explanation for these ndings is that the students have not completely mastered the formal counterparts of these vernacular or mildly marked variants, due to the diculty of these formal variants (e.g. the distinctive third person plural markings of French verbs are a well-known stumbling block for L2 learners due to their irregularity and unpredictability). In other words, it may be more appropriate to view these nonstandard forms as developmental features than as evidence that the students have learned vernacular or mildly marked variants, although this possibility cannot be completely ruled out since some of the immersion students have had some degree of contact with speakers of vernacular French. Kenemer (1982) also documented in the speech of her L2 learners of French, in an educational setting, instances in which the learners used variants that coincided with L1 vernacular variants, but that were, in fact, reections of the problems the learners faced in mastering dicult formal variants. The problems the immersion students face in mastering dicult formal variants in certain cases has led them, as Table 4 shows, to produce nonnative forms and usages that alternate in the students L2 discourse with the native variants (pas deletion, juste used to the left of a verb, so for alors or donc, non-native future verb forms, use of auxiliary avoir with aller in the past compound tenses, and non-native forms to express the notion of movement to, or locations at, ones dwelling). This is especially true when a given variant is not mirrored in English. For instance, the students use of nonnative prepositional locutions to convey the notion of motion to, or location at, ones dwelling, likely reects the fact that chez is a semantically nontransparent and specialized preposition that English lacks. Table 4 also reveals that there are three formal variants that are absent from the immersion studentsspeech (ne . . . que, poste, and demeurer), and two formal variants that the immersion students use at rates below native norms (inected future, and chez 2). The former pattern may be ascribed to the fact that the three variants in question are not, as Table 4 shows, frequent in L1 French nor, overall, in the educational input. The latter pattern may be accounted for by the greater level of diculty of the variants in question and the lack of English equivalent forms. Under-use of formal variants has also been documented in research by Harley and King (1989), Lyster (1994a), Lyster and Rebuot (2002), and Swain and Lapkin (1990). These researchers also ascribe their ndings to the fact that the formal variants under study are dicult, they go against the structure of English, and they are insuciently reinforced by the teachers in the classroom.
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The immersion students display only partial mastery of the linguistic constraints on variation observed in native Quebec French

As Table 5 shows, we found that: 1. for ve variables (seulement/juste, nous/on, use versus non-use of schwa and of /l/, and chez 1/a ' la maison), the immersion students observe the same constraints as do the L1 speakers; 2. for two variables (future verb forms and avoir/e tre) they observe only one of the constraints documented in L1 French; 3. for two variables (use versus non-use of ne and use versus non-use of third person plural verb forms) they do not observe any of the linguistic constraints documented in L1 French; and 4. for two variables (seulement/juste and use versus non-use of third person plural verb forms) they observe constraints that are particular to them. In sum, our investigation of the learning of linguistic constraints on variation by the immersion students has revealed that overall the students have a partial mastery of the linguistic constraints of variation. Other researchers (Regan 1996; Sax 2000; Thomas 2002a), each investigating only one particular variable, have found that, by and large, the learners master the linguistic constraints associated with the variable in question. The divergence between these studies and our research may reect the fact that we have looked at a wider set of variables. Since each set of linguistic constraints is specic to the particular variable in question, it is not easy to generalize the ndings of specic studies. In other words, because learners have been found to master the linguistic constraints of a specic variable, it does not necessarily follow that they will be as successful in mastering the constraints associated with another variable. This, therefore, suggests that further research on this topic is needed.
For a number of the variables under study, the immersion students display correlations with social class and sex that are reminiscent of the associations found in Quebec French

As Table 6 shows, the female immersion students and the students from the middle class use some formal variants more often than do male students and students from the upper-working class in ve of the variables we examined (ne use versus non-use, seulement/juste, avoir/e tre, the future tenses, and nous/on). For the rst three variables, the origin of these correlations may lie in the immersion teachers pedagogical treatment of variation, or in the course materials that they use for the teaching of French language arts. For instance, Table 4 shows that the immersion teachers display a marked preference for particle ne in negative sentences, and that ne deletion is almost entirely absent in the French language arts materials. This could lead the students to infer that
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Table 5: Linguistic constraints on the use of variants found in the speech of L1 speakers and the French immersion students
Linguistic variables
Emploi; Habiter Schwa

Ne qui and ils > specic singular and restricted verb forms referent > nous

Seulement

Donc ; Aller inf. 1sg. Future (all pers.) Nous Auxiliary Chez 1

3 rd plural verb forms

/l/

innitive Constraints pas > deletion > juste ; observed COD > in L1 French rien que

donc * aller specic adverb inf. 1sg. ** > present; negative sentences; / xed expressions; polite vous > in. future no, except with specic adverbs none none infrequent verbs; none presence of an object clitic; presence of a plural marking on the subject > singular verb forms yes no no, except verb frequency yes

movement emploi ** cf. note 1 cf. note 2 frequent > chez habiter ** below below verbs > e tre ; transitive usage; adjectival usage of past part. > avoir

Constraints respected by students

no

yes

yes

yes

Constraints unique to FI students

none

use of restrictive adverb to the left of the verb > juste

none

none

none

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> favorable to * case where the linguistic factors investigated by the L1 studies were found to have no eect ** cases where the L1 studies did not investigate the eect of any linguistic factors 1 schwa deletion is more frequent in clitic sequences (e.g. je me I me) and word internally (e.g. maintenant now) than in word initial syllables (e.g. venir to come) 2 /l/ deletion is more frequent in impersonal il than in personal il (s); it is more frequent when il is followed by a consonant

Table 6: Eect of independent variables in the speech of the French immersion students
Linguistic variables

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Ne no female > inected future >aller innitive; <nonnative forms >on no no Romance language > nous ? no >3 rd plural verb forms >chez ; <nonnative forms female and middle class > nous no middle class >e tre no no

Seulement

Donc

Aller inf. (1sg.) Future (all pers.) Nous Chez 1* Emploi

3 rd pl. verb forms Auxiliary compound tenses no

Habiter

Schwa ?

/l/ ?

Eect of sex and/or social class <je vas

middle class > ne use

female > seulement

male, middle class > donc

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Eect of increased exposure to French outside school ?

>non-use of ne

>juste

>donc

no

no

>nonuse of schwa

Eect of home language

Romance language > ne use

Romance language > seulement ; English > juste

Romance language > alors

no

Romance language > travail

no

> favorable to < unfavorable to ? The eect of this parameter was not examined * Due to a low number of tokens for chez 2, it was not possible to run a GoldVarb

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use of particle ne is typical of spoken Standard French and the students would show a more or less marked preference for this variant according to their own social class and sex. In contrast, in the case of the latter two variables (namely nous/on and the future tenses), one cannot invoke the inuence of teacher speech, since, as Table 4 shows, the immersion teachers use nous and the inected future relatively infrequently. However, Table 3 points to the fact that both nous and the inected future are formal variants, a fact that is reected in Table 4 by more frequent use of these variants in the materials meant to represent dialogues than in other texts. It is, therefore, possible that the immersion students have become aware of this stylistic contrast and, hence, display the observed eect of social class and sex in their speech in relation to these two variants. Further, Table 6 shows inconsistent associations with sex and social class in relation to the immersion students use of the hyper-formal variant donc. One possible explanation for this nding is that, contrary to nous and the inected future, the teaching materials are providing the students with a misleading representation of the stylistic status of donc, since this hyperformal variant is used almost three times as frequently in dialogues as in other texts! Finally, Table 6 also shows that there are ve variables where neither sex nor social class had an eect (aller innitive in the rst person singular, third person plural verb forms, chez 1, emploi, habiter). What is interesting about four of these ve variables is that they are sparse in the educational input (emploi, habiter) and/or they are treated as invariant by the educational input (aller innitive in the rst person singular, third person plural verb forms, emploi). Thus, the students may lack the necessary clues to infer the sociostylistic status of the dierent variants in question. To our knowledge, no other research has examined the eect of social class on the learning of sociolinguistic variation by L2 learners of French in an educational setting. Only one study has examined the impact of sex on such learners (Dewaele and Regan 2002) and, in fact, documented a lack of eect.6 Thus, our ndings constitute an important contribution to research in this area.
Those students who have had contacts with native speakers outside school, primarily in Quebec, display a better mastery of mildly marked variants

We have used three measures of the immersion students exposure to French outside school: (1) their use of spoken French media; (2) whether they stayed with Francophone families; and (3) whether they stayed in a Francophone environment. The eects of these three measures were assessed separately in the GoldVarb analyses, but are represented in Table 6 under the general heading of exposure to French outside school. Thus, when an association with this
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factor is reported in Table 6, it may mean that any or all of these separate measures is/are at play. As Table 6 shows, increased exposure to French outside the school was found to favor the following mildly marked variants: ne deletion, juste, on, and schwa deletion. These four mildly marked variants are used frequently in L1 spoken French (see Table 4). It is therefore understandable that those immersion students who have had the highest levels of contact with these speakers would use these variants most often. The only remaining mildly marked variant in the immersion students speech not associated with increased exposure to French outside school is je vas, a frequent variant in L1 spoken French. In fact, we found an inverse correlation between this factor and the use of je vas, with the highest levels of exposure to French outside school being associated with nil use of this variant. It can be pointed out that the form je vas has been reported in the speech of students in the early stages of L2 acquisition, including early French immersion students (Harley 1992). Thus, the presence of this form in the speech of the current immersion students is likely a remnant of this developmental stage. What is interesting, however, is that increased exposure to French outside the school setting, where je vas is frequent, does not lead to the persistence of this form, or even the increased use of it. One possible explanation for this may be that the dierence between je vas and je vais is not phonetically salient enough for the immersion students to become aware of the frequent use of je vas by L1 speakers of French and, hence, increased exposure does not promote its acquisition. Our nding of a positive eect on the learning of mildly marked variants exerted by exposure to French outside the L2 classroom context reinforces the ndings of many studies that have documented this same pattern, namely the works of Dewaele (1992), Dewaele and Regan (2002), Lapkin, Hart and Swain (1995), Regan (1996), Sax (1999, 2000), and Thomas (2002a, 2002b). Interestingly, Table 6 shows that increased exposure to French outside school also has an eect on the immersion students use of certain standard variants. For instance, we found that this independent variable was associated with more frequent use of chez 1 and the use of distinctive third person plural verb forms. The reader will recall that both chez and these distinctive verb forms are dicult for the immersion students to acquire. Therefore, it makes sense that students with greater exposure to French outside school, and presumably greater concomitant prociency, would be better able to master this highly specialized preposition and these irregular verb forms. In a similar vein, one could argue that the inverse correlation found between the use of non-native variants of both the future and chez 1 and increased exposure to French outside school may be ascribed to a higher level of prociency as a result of such exposure. To our knowledge, our research is the rst among the body of literature examining the learning of sociolinguistic variation by L2 learners of French in an educational setting to point to an association between increased extra-curricular exposure and
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increased use of dicult standard variants and decreased use of non-native variants.
The languages spoken at home by the immersion students promote the learning of certain French variants that have a counterpart in those languages

As Table 6 shows, our research has conrmed the inuence of English or Italian and Spanish on the learning of sociolinguistic variation in ve variables. We found that the students who speak Spanish or Italian at home use the negative particle ne, seulement, alors, nous, and travail much more frequently than do the rest of the students. These results reect the following facts. In these two languages: the preverbal negative particle non is never deleted; the notion of restriction is expressed with adverb solamente ; consequence is commonly expressed via allora ; rst person plural is expressed via only one pronoun, namely noi or nosotros ; and the notion of paid work can be expressed by the words travaglio or trabajo.7 Thus, it can be assumed that the presence of these closely related counterparts in Italian and Spanish leads the students who speak these languages at home to favor the corresponding French expressions. As for the inuence of English, this was evidenced by our ndings related to juste, a variant that is similar to the English restrictive adverb just. As can be seen in Table 4, the immersion students make more frequent use of juste than do the L1speakers of French, despite the fact that their teachers have in all likelihood rarely used this variant (see Table 4). Further, we also found that those immersion students who speak only English at home exhibit the highest levels of juste usage. These results suggest that L1 transfer can play an important role in the learning of sociolinguistic variation, just as it has been shown to inuence the acquisition of invariant usages (Gass and Selinker 2001). Findings similar to our own have been arrived at for L2 learners of French in an educational setting by Dewaele (1999), and Tre vise and Noyau (1984), and even for L2 learners of French outside of educational settings (Blondeau, Nagy, Sanko and Thibault 2002).
The treatment of variants in the educational input of the immersion students provides considerable insight into many of the above-mentioned trends

As we saw inTable 4, the teachers and, to an even greater extent, the pedagogical materials make no or only marginal use of vernacular variants, use mildly marked variants infrequently, and overuse formal standard variants. By and large, we saw that these patterns are reected in the immersion students own patterns of variant use. Furthermore, in analyzing the French language arts materials we discovered the following trends:
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1. Explicit information on the sociostylistic status of variants is almost never provided (e.g. use of nous for on is never agged nor commented upon). 2. In the rare instances where variation is acknowledged with two variants used side-by-side as translations of each other, no indication is given as to the regional origin or sociostylistic status of either item (e.g. Quebec French ble dinde corn is translated with Standard French ma i s corn). 3. For a number of variables, the materials implicitly provide inaccurate or confusing clues to the students regarding the sociostylistic value of the variants (e.g. hyper-formal donc is used more often than formal alors in dialogues). 4. For certain variables, the implicit patterns of variant use reinforce stereotypical associations (e.g. ne deletion is associated with drug addicts and individuals of lower-than-average intelligence). 5. The materials contain no activities whatsoever designed to develop the studentssociolinguistic competence. Despite the role that educational input has been shown to play in the learning of second languages in institutional settings (Gass and Selinker 2001; Long 1988; Lyster 1994a, 1994b), our research stands alone inasmuch as it has carried out an in-depth analysis of the treatment of variation in such input. To our knowledge, the only two researchers who have touched upon the role of educational input in the L2 learners development of sociolinguistic competence are Lyster and Rebuot (2002) and OConnor Di Vito (1991). These researchers also found that there was a mismatch between the educational input of L2 learners of French and the French of L1 speakers. This mismatch suggests that there is a need to rethink the teaching of French in L2 programs with a view to giving learners signicantly more opportunities to develop their sociolinguistic competence in French (e.g. design materials specically targeting sociolinguistic variation). Models of the types of materials and pedagogical approaches needed to improve the sociolinguistic competence of L2 learners of French has already been developed by, for instance, Critchley (1994) and Lyster (1994a, 1994b).

CONCLUSION In sum, focused as it is on more than a dozen variables pertaining to the phonology, lexicon, and morphosyntax of French, our research reveals that the immersion studentsdevelopment of sociolinguistic competence is considerably below that of native speakers of Quebec French on a number of dimensions (e.g. frequency of variant use, breadth of variant repertoire, mastery of the linguistic and extra-linguistic constraints on variation). There clearly are, however, variables that the immersion students have mastered somewhat better than others. For instance, and as one would expect, they do better at learning mildly marked variants than vernacular variants because their educational input provides them with exposure to them, although such
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exposure is not intense enough to promote native-like frequency of use of such variants by the immersion students. Additionally, the immersion students have an edge in producing and/or learning certain forms that correspond to vernacular or mildly marked L1 variants, due to the diculty of the standard or formal counterparts of these variants (e.g. the use of auxiliary avoir for e tre), to the presence of a similar variant in their rst language (e.g. the use of juste for seulement by students who speak only English at home), or to the naturalness of certain variants (e.g. schwa deletion). However, as we have seen, the inuence of the students rst language may also lead them to overuse certain formal variants, thus putting them further out of step with L1 speakers of French (e.g. the higher retention of ne by students who speak Italian or Spanish at home, languages that negate sentences only with a preverbal negator). While some of our ndings are in keeping with trends that are now well established by research on the acquisition of sociolinguistic variation by L2 learners of French in various educational settings (e.g. overuse of formal variants and under-use of mildly marked variants) our work has added considerable strength to other claims that, until now, have not been thoroughly documented (e.g. the rarity or absence of vernacular variants) or that have not been documented at all (e.g. the production of non-native forms or usages, and the benecial eect on the learning of dicult standard variants exerted by contacts with L1 speakers). Finally, our research opens up new fronts in documenting the eect of sex and social class on the learning of sociostylistic variants and in providing a roadmap for examining the eect of the crucial variable of educational input (e.g. frequency of variants in teachersspeech and in pedagogical materials, and treatment of variants).

NOTES
1. To our knowledge, no synthesis of Type 2 research focused on L2 English has yet been published. 2. In the immersion programs where these 41 students were enrolled, children raised in French-speaking homes constitute only a small minority of the student body (Mougeon, Nadasdi and Rehner in progress). 3. There has been a paucity of studies that have examined the stylistic constraints of variation in Quebec French and, hence, there is very little baseline data with which to compare the immersion students mastery of such constraints. As such, our investigation of this topic has, to date, been very limited and will not be reported upon in this paper. 4. These seven immersion teachers taught at the grade 3 and 6 levels, that is at the point in the students schooling where they are receiving formal teaching of French language arts. 5. Recall that we have not been able to analyze pronunciation features of the immersion teachers since we do not have access to the tape recordings of their classroom speech.
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6. It should be pointed out that Blondeau and Nagy (1998) found that female Anglophones who have learned French as an L2 in the naturalistic context of Montreal used non-standard subject doubling less often than did their male counterparts. These two researchers hypothesized that this dierence reected the fact that their L2 learners had internalized the eect of speaker sex on subject doubling as the result of frequent interactions with L1 speakers. This is not an explanation that we can propose for the immersion students, since they have had only limited contacts with L1speakers. 7. The word travaglio is a feature of the dialects of Italian spoken in the South of Italy, an area from where the great majority of Italians residing in Toronto have emigrated.

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Address correspondence to: Raymond Mougeon North Ross 711 4700 Keele Street Toronto Ontario Canada M3J 1P3 rmougeon@yorku.ca

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