Stadt: Potsdam

Frist: 2024-09-01

Beginn: 2025-03-18

Ende: 2025-03-19


Variation is a key property of natural languages. Variation in Language Acquisition (ViLA) is a conference series dedicated to the research question of how socially meaningful variation is acquired and learned in terms of perception, production and metalinguistic evaluation (cf. de Vogelaer & Katerbow, 2017). The aim is to integrate approaches from sociolinguistics and language acquisition in order to deepen the understanding of how children acquiring a first language and learners of second or foreign languages develop their sociolinguistic competence, i.e., “the capacity to recognize and produce socially appropriate speech in context” (Lyster, 1994: 263).

The sixth edition of ViLA is hosted by the Collaborative Research Center 1287 (Limits of variability in language) at the University of Potsdam. Hence, contributions addressing cognitive, social, and linguistic factors that constrain variability and delimit the range of sociolinguistic alternatives are particularly encouraged. Submissions are amenable to different methodological approaches, such as sociolinguistics, anthropology, language acquisition, psycholinguistics, or corpus linguistics as long as they tackle at least one of the following issues:

  • Language-internal and language-external factors determining the perception and production of sociolinguistic variation
  • Role of input in language acquisition and learning of dialects
  • Cognitive representation of intra-linguistic variation
  • When do children start acquiring the social meaning of linguistic variation?
  • Longitudinal development in sociolinguistic acquisition and learning processes as well as modelling of these aspects
  • Preservation, attrition, and changes of sociolinguistic competence in L1 and L2 over the lifespan
  • Functions of code-switching and code-mixing in bidialectal and bilingual language users
  • Transfer phenomena and language contact in bidialectal/bilingual/multilingual situations
  • Role of attitudes, ascriptions, and evaluations for the learning of variation
  • Limits and constraints in the process of dialect and register acquisition
  • Similarities and differences in learning social and denotational meanings
  • Applications of findings on the acquisition and learning of sociolinguistic variation in terms of inclusion, integration, and speech promotion
  • Theoretical embedding of the acquisition of socially meaningful variation and link to more general comprehension of language variation and change
  • Methodological considerations on the issue of variation in language acquisition

If you are interested, submit your proposal until the 1st of September 2024 by sending an email to vila6 [at] with the subject PROPOSAL_YOUR LAST NAME. Please use our template (, max. 3000 characters) and indicate whether you prefer a talk (20 minutes + 10 minutes discussion) or a poster presentation.

Invited speakers
Jennifer Smith (University of Glasgow)
Lauren Schmidt (San Diego State University)

Organising committee
Aaron Schmidt-Riese, German Department, SFB1287 Project C10
Patrick Auhagen, Romance Department, SFB1287 Project C09
Martin Pfeiffer, German Department, SFB1287 Project C10
Melanie Uth, Romance Department, SFB1287 Project C09

De Vogelaer, Gunther, & Katerbow, Matthias (2017). Acquiring Sociolinguistic Variation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Lyster, Roy (1994). The effect of functional-analytic teaching on aspects of French immersion students’ sociolinguistic competence. Applied Linguistics, 15(1), 263–287.

Beitrag von: Patrick Auhagen

Redaktion: Robert Hesselbach