Despite decades of calls for more and deeper inter-disciplinary connections between the fields of second language acquisition and variationist sociolinguistics, there has been little integration. Below are only a few selected quotations from papers and books published across the time span of over 40 years, each of which laments the lack of studies investigating sociolinguistic variation in non-native speech:
- “The variability model used in sociolinguistics has been used extensively in studies of sound change in the native language, but little has been done to apply this model to second language acquisition (Labov 1965, 1972)” (Dickerson 1975, p. 402)
- “One of the most neglected areas of inquiry in the field of second language acquisition…is sociolinguistic variation” (Beebe, 1980, p. 433)
- “Studies that focus on the connection between models of learner language, acquisition, and use, on the one hand, and the effects of various social factors, on the other hand, are quite scarce” (Geeslin & Long, 2014)
- “[Throughout the history of SLA,] the legacy of linguistics and psychology meant that most theories and insights remained strongly cognitive in orientation and generally ignored other research, such as Labov’s (1970, 1972) in variationist sociolinguistics” (The Douglas Fir Group, 2016, p.19)
Even finding literature on variation in L2 may be difficult, as I learned myself while working on my doctoral dissertation. However, where there is a gap, there is always potential, and I thought I could contribute to the small-but-growing community of researchers who study variation in L2 by creating this bibliography.
Please let me know if you know of studies that should be included in this bibliography!