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Observing and Analysing Natural Language: A Critical Account of Sociolinguistic Method

ISBN: 978-0-631-13623-1
248 pages
January 1991, Wiley-Blackwell
Observing and Analysing Natural Language: A Critical Account of Sociolinguistic Method (0631136231) cover image


Social networks -- those informal and formal social relationships of which any human society is composed -- are distinguished by their own patters of language use. Lesley Milroy is concerned with the manner in which patterns of linguisitic variation characterize particular groups (social and cultural, geographic, male and female) within a complex urban community.
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Table of Contents



1. Language, Class and Community.

2. Obtaining Data in the Speech Community: Major Principles.

3. Studying Language in teh Community: The Fieldworker and the Social Network.

4. The Social Context of Speech Events.

5. The Quantitative Analysis of Linguistic Data.

6. The Language of the Individual Speaker: Patterns of Variation and Network Structure.

7. Conclusions and Theoretical Implications.




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Author Information

Lesley Milroy is Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
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The Wiley Advantage

  • Examines questions of how to access and analyze actual language use and study language in its social context

  • Integrates a thorough and practical description of current sociolinguistic methodology with a discussion of theory

  • Stresses the need for the entire research process from the initial design of the project to the interpretation of results to be grounded in theoretically defensible positions
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"An impressive book by any standards, and is likely to take its place as a "classic" of sociolinguistics." R.A. Hudson, Journal of Linguistics (of the first edition)
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