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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Sociolinguistics. The Study of speakers’ choices


2005, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, New York, 263 p [Order]


Coulmas, Florian


Määttä, Simo
The LINGUIST List 17.206

Sociolinguistics. The Study of speakers' choices

Sociolinguistics. The Study of speakers’ choices

 Why do men and women, adolescents and adults, taxi drivers and solicitors speak differently? Why are some accents highly respected and others despised? How do we choose our words and our languages? This accessible new textbook provides a clear introduction to sociolinguistics, the study of why we speak the way we do, and the social factors that influence our linguistic decisions. Based on the notion of `choice’ – that as speakers we select from the options open to us – it provides a solid theoretical framework to deal with the most fascinating characteristic of language: its variability and diversity. Topics covered include dialects, gender- and age-specific speech forms, professional jargons, diglossia, bilingualism, code¬switching, pidgin languages and language planning, all of which are unified by the common theme that speakers, by making choices, create their language. Drawing on linguistic variation from a wide range of societies and their languages, this is set to become a key text for all students of sociolinguistics, and will be welcomed by anyone interested in the complex interaction between language and society.

  • Provides an accessible introduction to sociolinguistics

  • Introduces students to all the key topics in the field

  • Contains discussion questions, and a useful glossary