Ekaterina Golovko Maria Mazzoli

Copulas in Italian L2

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This paper examines the rate of use and omission of the Italian verb essere 'to be'in its copular functions in the speech of eight Italian L2 speakers from Ukraine and Moldo a. They are female migrant workers , Russian L1 speakers , employed as caregivers by Italian families and long-term residents in Italy. Th y have no formal instruction in Italian L2, and they have diverse l vels of integration into Italian society. We performed a multivariate analysis with Goldvarb X on a corpus of 45.000 words of transcribed speech , collected through non-structured inter views conducted in Italian . In this paper we demonstrate that although all the speakers show great variation in their language performance , they share the same Italian L2 linguistic system . They share the same linguistic conditioning since variation within the examined categories conforms to the same direction of effect . Also , based on the overall and relative rates of copula use in their individual speech , we are able to group the participants into two sets of "less proficient" and "more proficient" speakers. Finally, we observe that among the social factors examined , the level of integration into Italian society plays the most significant role in predicting the speakers' variable performance .


  • Copula
  • Goldvarb X
  • Italian L2
  • Language Variation
  • Russian L1


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