ERIC Number: ED201171
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Jun
The Use of Variable Rules in Describing the Interlanguage of Second Language Learners.
Stauble, Ann-Marie; Larsen-Freeman, Diane
This study presents a formal device which can be used to display interlanguage variability while revealing its overall systematicity. Two types of variability are recognized: (1) production of a number of variant structures for a single target language structure at one point in time; and (2) variation over time that is attributable to the instability of interlanguage. A review of sociolinguistic approaches indicates that only through the application of both the variable rule and implicational scaling devices can one: (1) generalize about frequency of occurrence of non-target forms at any point in time, (2) get an overview of the directionality of the learner's interlanguage development, and (3) see the existence of irregularities in the changing interlanguage. The proposed approach is illustrated with Stauble's study of the English negation development exhibited by three native-speakers of Spanish. The rules that are constructed through use of the approach under discussion define the linguistic environment in which variant forms occur and state the percentage of certain utterances accounted for by each rule at each stage of development. (AMH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Los Angeles. Dept. of English.
Note: In its Workpapers in Teaching English as a Second Language, Volume 12, p72-87, Jun 1978.