Gender and second language style : American learner perceptions and use of Mandarin sajiao

Date
2013-12
Authors
Hardeman, Katherine Quintilla
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Publisher
[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2013]
Abstract
The links between language and gender have been examined in depth in variationist approaches to sociolinguistics. Regardless of the researcher's orientation to the meaning of "gender" and what it represents, gender has nonetheless been a relevant topic in sociolinguistics; in fact, an entire area of study on "language and gender" has developed out of this interest. In the field of SLA, meanwhile, the relevance of gender to the language learning process has also been discussed, though mostly outside of the traditional variationist paradigm. Several works in recent years, however, have approached the topic of gender in language learning using traditional variationist methods (Adamson and Regan 1991; Major 2004; Schleef, Meyerhoff, and Clark, 2011). This body of work has shown gender to be a prominent factor in the acquisition of L2 variation, in some cases more prominent than stylistic constraints. However, this body of work is small, and there has been a call for more research on the topic of gender in L2 learning using variationist approaches (Regan and Bayley 2004). This dissertation will add to the growing body of work on L2 identity from a variationist perspective. Unlike the majority of previous L2 variation work that has focused on production data (Adamson and Regan 1991; Major 2004), this dissertation incorporates both perception and production data in order to assess whether the claims that have been made about the relevance of gender in L2 language production also hold true in perception. In addition, whereas previous research has focused on the acquisition of discrete variables in a target language (c.f. English--ING in Schleef, Meyerhoff, and Clark 2011), my research will take as its central focus a language style comprised of multiple linguistic variables. I investigate a style as opposed to individual linguistic variables so as to more closely approximate the ways in which learners encounter target language variation. Furthermore, whereas previous work has focused primarily on the acquisition of Western languages--English and French (Adamson and Regan 1991; Mougeon, Rehner, and Nadasdi 2004; Rehner and Mougeon 2003; Uritescu, Mougeon, Rehner, and Nadasdi 2004)--my work has taken as its focus the acquisition of Mandarin Chinese. Finally, the results presented in this dissertation further our understanding of Mandarin sajiao (撒嬌) and show that previous descriptions of this speech style have been oversimplified.
Description
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords
Sajiao, Mandarin, Sociolinguistics, Second Language, Style
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