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Developing sociolinguistic competence through explicit instruction: the case of future-time expression in L2 Spanish

Pisabarro Sarrio, Silvia (2019) Developing sociolinguistic competence through explicit instruction: the case of future-time expression in L2 Spanish. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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A major challenge in language acquisition is progressing from one-to-one form-meaning associations to expressing a particular meaning through multiple forms (Andersen, 1990). Variationists focused on language acquisition follow the tenet of tracking development in not only rates of use of a particular variant but also the independent factors that condition such use (Bayley & Tarone, 2012). Future-time expression provides an interesting test-case for the acquisition of variation in Spanish since numerous forms are used in this temporal context, including the morphological future iré ‘I will go’, periphrastic future voy a ir ‘I am going to go’, and present indicative voy ‘I go’. Although recent work has considered to what extent classroom learners use and select the aforementioned forms in variable contexts (e.g., Gudmestad & Geeslin, 2013; Kanwit, 2017), research in this vein has not integrated pedagogical interventions, despite increasing calls for instruction on sociolinguistic variation (Geeslin with Long, 2014; Gutiérrez & Fairclough, 2009). With this gap in the literature in mind, the present study investigates the development of sociolinguistic competence (Canale & Swain, 1980) in six Spanish classes through either traditional instruction, an explicit intervention in which students received instruction regarding general trends in overall rates of use of future-time forms and the effects of independent variables on such use (e.g., temporal distance, the presence of temporal adverbs, formality), or the explicit instruction coupled with spiraling activities to reinforce instructed concepts. We present longitudinal data collected at four points throughout a semester-long course from 54 participants by means of five tasks: oral and written production tasks, a contextualized preference task, a metalinguistic awareness task, and a self-reflection task. Results indicate that students in the instruction groups demonstrated more target-like rates of use and selection and sensitivity to independent linguistic factors when compared to the control group. The responses of the instruction groups in the metalinguistic task were informed by the cognitive explanations of why the future variants are differentially preferred. Overall, the current dissertation provides evidence that the pedagogical intervention implemented is effective in raising sociolinguistic competence, as seen in learners’ variable expression of the Spanish future across tasks.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Pisabarro Sarrio, Silviasip23@pitt.edusip23
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKanwit, Mattmkanwit@pitt.edumkanwit
Committee MemberJuffs, Alanjuffs@pitt.edujuffs
Committee MemberDonato, Richarddonato@pitt.edudonato
Committee Membervan Compernolle,
Date: 25 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 5 April 2019
Approval Date: 25 June 2019
Submission Date: 12 April 2019
Access Restriction: 3 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 3 years.
Number of Pages: 458
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Hispanic Linguistics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: variation language acquisition Spanish
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2019 21:47
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2022 05:15


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