Standard Article

Learner Varieties

  1. Christine Dimroth

Published Online: 5 NOV 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0673

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

How to Cite

Dimroth, C. 2012. Learner Varieties. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2012


The notion of learner variety (LV) refers to a coherent linguistic system produced by a language learner. The term highlights the fact that the standard variety as well as learner languages, dialects, and so forth are but variants of a given language and should not primarily be approached from a perspective of correctness or deviation from the “norm.” The term is often used in the plural (learner varieties) in order to emphasize the dynamic and unstable nature of developing learner languages. It is mainly employed in second language acquisition (SLA) studies but the concept can in principle also be applied to first language (L1) acquisition.


  • psycholinguistics;
  • research methods in applied linguistics;
  • second language acquisition;
  • grammar