This book is a real eye opener for anyone who would equate conjugating verbs and memorizing noun genders with 'learning' a second language. Regan et al. offer a stunning demonstration that effective communication hinges on acquiring the sociolinguistic competence to interpret (and produce) the many choices among variant linguistic structures that native speakers make regularly in their everyday interactions. Exemplifying with the controversial Year Abroad experience, the authors provide a first detailed account of how this is achieved. Their results should be required reading for educators, planners and policymakers, as well as linguists of all stripes. Shana Poplack, FRSC, Distinguished University Professor of Linguistics, University of Ottawa, Canada This exciting new book represents a significant leap forward for research on the effects of study abroad on second language acquisition. It focuses on the sociolinguistic competence of second language learners in a university setting, an unexplored dimension of this research strand. The volume offers a careful documentation and analysis of the crucial role played by a one-year stay in France on the acquisition of key aspects of sociostylistic variation in the spoken French of advanced-level students of French as a Second Language. Second language researchers, programme planners, and teachers will undoubtedly find this volume an insightful and useful resource.