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What Is Sociolinguistics?

ISBN: 978-1-4443-5696-0
296 pages
February 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
What Is Sociolinguistics? (1444356968) cover image
What is Sociolinguistics? is a tour through the major issues that define the field, such as region, status, gender, time, language attitudes, interaction, and style, while also exploring the sociolinguistics of multilingualism, culture and ethnicity, language contact, and education, all introduced with excitement, humor, and deep knowledge.
  • Explores the sociolinguistics of multilingualism, culture and ethnicity, language contact, and education
  • Provides useful and clear learning features including numerous innovative  exercises and project ideas, spotlighted research readings, glossary terms, chapter summaries, and text boxes
  • The Companion Website for Instructors (www.wiley.com/go/vanherkprofs) has PowerPoint slides for each chapter with suggestions for framing class discussions and exercises, further examples on concepts discussed in the book, tips on additional readings to bring in, and ready-to-go slides for class presentation.

  • The Companion Website for Students (www.wiley.com/go/vanherk) includes links for every chapter from standard sociolinguistic tools to links designed to spark discussion relevant to each chapter, including video clips, oral histories, articles, and more.

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Contents vii

List of Boxes xi

Research in the Spotlight xiv

Companion Website xvi

Acknowledgments xvii

1. Introduction 1

2. Language and Society 10

3. Place 25

4. Social Status 47

5. Time 60

6. Ethnicity 75

7. Gender and Identity 85

8. Style 104

9. Interaction 116

10. Multilingualism 127

11. Language Contact 136

12. Attitudes and Ideologies 148

13. Language as a Social Entity 161

14. Education 175

15. What is Sociolinguistics? 188

Glossary 197

Bibliography 213

Index 229

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Gerard Van Herk is a Canada Research Chair in Regional Language and Oral Text at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He has researched and written on varieties of the English language and is the editor of Data Collection in Sociolinguistics: Methods and Applications (eds. with C. Mallinson and B. Childs, 2013).
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  • Introduces the major issues that define the field of sociolinguistics, such as region, status, gender, time, language attitudes, interaction, and style
  • Written in a reader-friendly, conversational tone that students will love, but backed with the knowledge and coverage that lecturers want
  • Explores the sociolinguistics of multilingualism, culture and ethnicity, language contact, and education
  • Packed with useful learning features including numerous innovative exercises and project ideas, spotlighted research readings, glossary terms, chapter summaries, and text boxes
  • Accompanied by a website offering PowerPoint slides for instructors and sample answers to questions, as well as links for further study
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“This is a delightfully engaging introduction to the passionate purpose of sociolinguistics. Van Herk is a masterful guide who personally escorts students on an informative, entertaining tour of the field. Students experience sociolinguistics through the perfect blend of substance, interaction, and autobiographical perspective.” – Walt Wolfram, North Carolina State University

What is Sociolinguistics offers a refreshingly different take on many of the standard, key concepts in the field.  It is funny, clear, and distinctly personal, providing essential information about sociolinguistics and referring students to a host of other works that can take them deeper if they wish.” – John Rickford, Stanford University
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