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Language and Society

Class at Faculty of Arts |




Recommended Readings 1

Introduction to sociolinguistics: What do sociolinguists study? 2

Social dialects, varieties

Wardhaugh, 2006, chapter 2 3

Standardization of English in Sub-Saharan Africa (e.g., Rwanda)

Dialect levelling in the UK

The status of English in the Caribbean

Age-grading in dialects

Ethnic identity and heritage languages

Boberg, 2004

Kim & Chao, 2009

Pearson, 2013

Torgersen & Kerswill, 2004

Youssef, 2010 4

Linguistic variation and change

Labov, 2010

Wardhaugh, 2006, chapter 8 5

Great Lakes Vowel Shift (Northern Cities Vowel Shift)

Canadian Raising and its dissemination in North America

Vocalization of /l/ in English varieties

Frequency effects in language changes

Role of social media in language change

Bybee, 2002

Dailey-O’Cain, 1997

Eisenstein et al., 2014

Horvath & Horvath, 2002

McCarthy, 2007 6

Language, identity, and social class

Guy, 2011 7

Language contact

Drager, 2012

Sankoff, 2004

Thomason, 2001, chapter 1 8

English-based creoles and pidgins (e.g., Tok Pisin)

English as a lingua franca in India

Language contact and code switching in South African English

Contact between Maori and New Zealand English

Gibraltarian English (Llanito)

Calude, et al., 2020

Dowling et al., 2019

Goria, 2021

Handman, 2013

Maxwell et al., 2021 9

Language, sex, and gender

Kleinman, 2002

Meyerhoff & Ehrlich, 2019

Wardhaugh & Fuller, 2015, chapter 12 10

Language and social interaction: Communication Accommodation

Giles & Ogay, 2007 11

Political correctness

This American Life (podcast): “Words you can’t say“ 12

Social and linguistic networks

McFaul, 2016

Milroy, 2004

Milroy & Milroy, 1985 13

World Englishes

Crystal, 2003: 86-122

Kirkpatrick, 2014  


Sociolinguistics is a discipline within the field of linguistics concerned with the systematic investigation of human language in relation to the social life of its speakers. This course is designed to offer introductory knowledge of basic sociolinguistic concepts (e.g., accent, dialect, diglossia) and methodology (i.e., real-time, apparent-time experiments) used by researchers to investigate language in its social context.

We will discuss several of the topics that sociolinguists traditionally study, including the relationships between social identity and language use, linguistic diversity, language variation and change, and language contact. We will also examine some of the methods for collecting and analyzing data.

By the end of this course, students will have acquired the ability to understand aspects of sociolinguistic theory and data, based on knowledge of the scholarly research in the field.