Monday, October 01, 2012

Thought: Shifting from WEs to 'variation' in general

"Acceptability" is a facet of variation. If we accept the idea that error is in the eye of the beholder, we can investigate how/why people identify problematic variations.

But to limit that to one perspective might be too narrowing -- there are plenty of people who have come up with different ways of looking at variation. (Ferris/Truscott? Williams?) So what if I compare readers' reactions/rejections of certain chunks of language to a number of things:

- attested/proven/proposed features of a particular local variety of E? (We have to assume there's some kind of assumed standard English in mind that the local usage is being compared to -- and of course that's tricky, too, but we can at least gather, from WEs theory, that 'unenlightened' respondents are judging their local English against 'standard English')
- proposed features of ELF (this is a lot more important than i thought it would be, actually. The more I think about ELF the more sense it makes, and it would be interesting to compare what I find to ELF ideas.)

- traditional "common errors made by ESL writers" (Cf Hinkel, Silva)

- slightly less codified but also commonly cited "common errors made by Chinese L1 speakers" (cf. the thing from Chang that I wrote about a while back)

- this '"cross-language relations" thing which I'm kind of afraid of

In the end this study would be less about the bottom-up understanding of CE and more about how we deal with variation in academic writing. Can I actually look at all of these though?


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