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Research Methods in Sociolinguistics: A Practical Guide

Janet Holmes (Editor), Kirk Hazen (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-118-58435-4
352 pages
August 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
Research Methods in Sociolinguistics: A Practical Guide (111858435X) cover image


This single-volume guide equips students of sociolinguistics with a full set of methodological tools including data collection and analysis techniques, explained in clear and accessible terms by leading experts. It features project suggestions, troubleshooting tips, and data assessment across diverse languages.

  • Explores an array of anthropological and scientific methods that cover the full spectrum of contemporary sociolinguistics, from the study of style and discourse analysis to the study of phonetics
  • Details the types of data available, and explains collection methods ranging from sociolinguistic interviews to linguistic landscapes
  • Provides comprehensive coverage of data analysis, subdivided into segments on linguistic and socio-cultural techniques, and linked to numerous languages
  • Includes useful summaries, seasoned advice and troubleshooting tips, ideas for research projects, and a full directory of supplementary reading
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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors vii

Acknowledgments xii

Symbols for Vowels Used in This Volume xiii

Articulatory Position of Vowels Used in This Volume xiv

Introduction 1
Janet Holmes and Kirk Hazen

1 A Historical Assessment of Research Questions in Sociolinguistics 7
Kirk Hazen

Part I Types of Data and Methods of Data Collection 23

2 Sociolinguistic Interviews 25
Michol Hoffman

3 Written Surveys and Questionnaires in Sociolinguistics 42
Erik Schleef

4 Experimental Methods in Sociolinguistics 58
Katie Drager

5 Computer-mediated Communication and Linguistic Landscapes 74
Jannis Androutsopoulos

Part II Methods of Analysis 91

Focusing on Features of Language from a Sociolinguistic Perspective 92

6 Sociohistorical Analysis 93
Terttu Nevalainen

7 Corpus Linguistics in Sociolinguistics 107
Paul Baker

8 Phonetic Analysis in Sociolinguistics 119
Erik R. Thomas

9 Phonological Considerations in Sociophonetics 136
Paul Kerswill and Kevin Watson

10 Morphosyntactic Analysis in Sociolinguistics 149
Julia Davydova

11 Vocabulary Analysis in Sociolinguistic Research 163
Michael Adams

12 Doing Discourse Analysis in Sociolinguistics 177
Janet Holmes

13 Words and Numbers: Statistical Analysis in Sociolinguistics 194
Gregory R. Guy

Focusing on Aspects of Sociocultural Context in Analyzing Language 211

14 Anthropological Analysis in Sociolinguistics 213
Alexandra Jaffe

15 Conversation Analysis in Sociolinguistics 230
Paul Drew

16 Geographical Dialectology 246
David Britain

17 Speech Communities, Social Networks, and Communities of Practice 262
Robin Dodsworth

18 Analyzing Sociolinguistic Variation in Multilingual Contexts 276
Rajend Mesthrie

19 Social Context, Style, and Identity in Sociolinguistics 290
Nikolas Coupland

20 Researching Children’s Acquisition of Sociolinguistic Competence 304
Carmel O’Shannessy

Index 325

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Author Information

Janet Holmes holds a personal Chair in Linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her sociolinguistics teaching focuses on workplace discourse, New Zealand English, and language and gender. She is Director of the Wellington Language in the Workplace (LWP) project and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Her many publications include The Handbook of Language and Gender (edited with M. Meyerhoff, Wiley-Blackwell, 2003), Leadership, Discourse and Ethnicity (with M. Marra and B. Vine, 2011), and An Introduction to Sociolinguistics, Fourth Edition (2013).

Kirk Hazen is Professor of Linguistics and director of the West Virginia Dialect Project at West Virginia University. He is the author of Dialect Change and Maintenance on the Outer Banks (with W. Wolfram and N. Schilling-Estes, 1998), Identity and Ethnicity in the Rural South: A Sociolinguistic View through Past and Present Be (2000), and An Introduction to Language (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).

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“This book is an invaluable aid for student researchers eager to produce high-quality, impactful sociolinguistic research. The editors of this volume have met their goal of providing the student with the theoretical framework, historical background, and methodological tools required to execute an array of different research endeavors within the field.”  (LINGUIST List, 8 December 2014)

“Short and highly focused chapters written by practitioners of sociolinguistics all over the world give this book a snappy feel. Each chapter is highly practical, even down to offering suggested project topics, and by including boxed highlights and flow charts this volume is likely to be widely used for teaching and (I bet) for structuring advanced research.”
Miriam Meyerhoff, University of Auckland

"Research Methods in Sociolinguistics is a remarkably comprehensive and useful compendium of current methods in the field, ranging from the conception and establishment of a research project to the collection, processing, and presentation of data. A forward-looking, benchmark collection founded solidly in the traditions of the field!"
Walt Wolfram, North Carolina State University

“This volume is like having the wisdom of Sociolinguistics at your fingertips. Whether you want to go to the field or the library, analyze words or interactions, study languages, dialects or sociolects, chart, map or quantify, this is the go-to book for the 21st century.”
Sali A. Tagliamonte, University of Toronto

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