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The Advanced Learner Variety

The Case of French


Edited By Emmannuelle Labeau and Florence Myles

This volume originates from a workshop entitled ‘Revisiting advanced varieties in L2 learning’ organized by the editors at Aston University (Birmingham, UK) in June 2006. It consists of a peer-reviewed selection of the best contributions.
Many different approaches have been used in the study of advanced learners and their characteristics. Specific areas of language have repeatedly been found to remain problematic even at advanced levels, and much empirical research has been carried out. In particular, areas of grammar such as the tense or agreement systems often pose difficulties, as well as lexical idiosyncrasies such as formulaic sequences, and the discourse/pragmatic constraints operating in French. This volume brings together recent research exploring the advanced learner capabilities in each of those domains, as well as possible explanations for the difficulties they raise for the L2 learner of French. Additionally, one of the areas which has received considerable attention in the French L2 literature on advanced learners, tense and aspect, is also explored from the point of view of French learners of English, to explore any parallels. In presenting this research, the book clarifies the concept of the advanced learner: how does s/he differ from native speakers and why?


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Emmanuelle Labeau and Florence Myles - Introduction 7


emmanuelle labeau and florence myles Introduction This volume is the result of a workshop entitled Revisiting Advanced Varieties in L2 Learning,1 organised by the editors at Aston University in June 2006. The purpose of the workshop was to revisit the research carried out on second language learners at high levels of proficiency since the publication of a seminal issue, edited in 1997 by Inge Bartning, of the journal AILE devoted to ‘Les apprenants avancés’. The timeliness of this initiative was demonstrated by the wealth and richness of the submis- sions received, from both new and seasoned researchers, and the present volume represents a selection of the best of this work. Fittingly, the workshop opened with a plenary by Inge Bartning reflecting on the development of the field since her 1997 volume. A wide range of presentations followed, dealing with various aspects of advanced varieties of French as a second language, ranging from morpho-syntax to lexis to discourse and pragmatics, as used by native speakers of a wide range of languages. At the end of a very fruitful conference, presenters were invited to revise their contributions in the light of the discussions. Each submission underwent the rigorous scrutiny of two members of our international scientific committee2 whose insightful comments helped 1 The workshop was supported by Aston University’s Distinguished Visiting Scholars Scheme. 2 The editors are very grateful for the scientific input of Inge Barning (Stockholms Universitet), Jean-Marc Dewaele (Birckbeck College), Julia Herschensohn (Washington), Alex Housen (Vrije Universiteit Brussels)...

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