The learning of spoken French variation by immersion students from Toronto, Canada



This study on the learning of sociolinguistic variants by 41 adolescents from a French immersion program in Toronto, Canada, synthesizes the findings 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 first 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 influencing 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; influence of the students’ L1(s); influence of intra-systemic factors – markedness of variants; and influence of the students’ social characteristics – social standing, sex?