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An Introduction to Sociolinguistics



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  • An Introduction to Sociolinguistics: Second Edition
    An Introduction to Sociolinguistics: Second Edition
  • An Introduction to Sociolinguistics
    An Introduction to Sociolinguistics


A new, updated fourth edition of Janet Holmes's best selling introductory textbook.

Table of Contents


Preface to Fourth Edition

Preface to Third Edition

Preface to Second Edition  

Preface to First Edition  

Author’s Acknowledgements  

Publisher’s Acknowledgements  

1. What do sociolinguists study?  

What is a sociolinguist?  

Why do we say the same thing in different ways?  

What are the different ways we say things?  

Social factors, dimensions and explanations  

Section I: Multilingual Speech Communities

2. Language choice in multilingual communities  

Choosing your variety or code  


Code-switching or code-mixing  

3. Language maintenance and shift  

   Language shift in different communities  

Language death and language loss  

Factors contributing to language shift  

How can a minority language be maintained?  

Language revival  

4. Linguistic varieties and multilingual nations  

Vernacular languages   

Standard languages  

Lingua francas  

Pidgins and creoles  

5. National languages and language planning    

National and official languages  

Planning for a national official language  

Developing a standard variety in Norway  

The linguist’s role in language planning  

Section II: Language Variation: Focus on Users

6. Regional and social dialects  

Regional variation  

Social variation    

Social dialects  

7. Gender and age  

Gender-exclusive speech differences: non-Western communities  

Gender-preferential speech features: social dialect research  

Gender and social class  

Explanations of women’s linguistic behaviour  

Age-graded features of speech  

Age and social dialect data  

Age grading and language change  

8. Ethnicity and social networks  


Social networks  

9. Language change  

Variation and change  

How do changes spread?  

How do we study language change?  

Reasons for language change  

Section III: Language Variation: Focus on Uses

10.  Style, context and register    

Addressee as an influence on style    

Accommodation theory  

Context, style and class  

Style in non-Western societies  


11.  Speech functions, politeness and cross-cultural communication  

The functions of speech  

Politeness and address forms  

Linguistic politeness in different cultures  

12.  Gender, politeness and stereotypes  

Women’s language and confidence  



The linguistic construction of gender

The linguistic construction of sexuality  

Sexist language

13. Language, cognition and culture

Language and perception


Linguistic categories and culture  

Discourse patterns and culture  

Language, social class, and cognition  

14. Analysing Discourse

Pragmatics and politeness theory

Ethnography of speaking  

Interactional sociolinguistics

Conversation Analysis (CA)

Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA)

15.  Attitudes and applications  

Attitudes to language  

Sociolinguistics and education

Sociolinguistics and forensic linguistics


16.  Conclusion  

Sociolinguistic competence  

Dimensions of sociolinguistic analysis  

Sociolinguistic universals  


Appendix: phonetic symbols  



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