Application of Sociolinguistic Variation Theory Method in L2 Acquisition: A Research Overview of China and Abroad

Meng Yu, Shanghai International Studies University, Harbin Institute of Technology (Weihai)

Li Pengyu, Harbin Institute of Technology (Weihai)

9:20 am – 9:50 am (Room 232)


While the application of sociolinguistic variation methods has been relatively recent in SLA research, this article is situated within the strand of application of variation theory method in the field of sociolinguistics to L2 acquisition research. The quantitative research approach in sociolinguistic variation theory provides a new perspective for the study of L2 acquisition. This paper expounds and analyzes L2 acquisition research in the light of variation theory, focusing on the development of variation research of interlanguage both in China and abroad as well as the application of variation theory approach in interlanguage research. L2 researches across a range of sociolinguistic variants have shown that L2 learners are sensitive to some factors in native-speaker discourse, such that they by no means make random use of a variant irrespective of the linguistic and social context. Thus, The combination of variation theory and L2 acquisition research is helpful to deepen the development of second language acquisition research, specifically, in L2 learning and teaching to provide suggestions to L2 learners and teachers. In so doing, L2 learners do not use or underuse the appropriate form in context, such that there is a form-function mismatch in their interlanguage.