In Understanding Sociolinguistics , the author focuses on language variation and change, traditionally the core elements of sociolinguistic study. This textbook provides a step-by-step introduction to the analytical framework and methodology of sociolinguistics and presents the discipline as an approach to doing linguistics by giving an overview of the theory followed by a corresponding emphasis on the practice of sociolinguistics. Understanding Sociolinguistics offers a comprehensive overview of the prevalent linguistic traditions of the past and shows how sociolinguistics, as pioneered by Labov in the 1960's, diverged from these. It discusses recent sociolinguistic developments and their impact on other linguistic domains, such as the study of language change and dialect contact. Sociolinguistic methodologies are clearly explained using examples from worldwide studies and citing the major works in this field. Factors of linguistic variability, such as class, style and age are examined in detail and a chapter is dedicated to gender in which the findings and interpretations of gender differentiation in language are presented. The contribution of sociolinguistics to language change is examined with reference to socio-historical linguistics via the works of major scholars. Dialect geography and the formation of new dialects are also covered, taking examples from languages around the world. Each chapter includes exercise and further reading lists, making this book an indispensable guide for students of sociolinguistics.
Enam Al-Wer is a lecturer in Linguistics at the Department of Language and Linguistics, Essex University, UK.
Table of Contents
Dimensions of Variation
Diffusion and Change
Variation and Change across Space
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