Introducing Sociolinguistics

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Taylor & Francis, May 11, 2015 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 368 pages
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This second edition of Miriam Meyerhoff’s highly successful textbook is supported by the Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader and online resources common to both books. It provides a solid, up-to-date appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of the field covering foundation issues, recent advances and current debates. It presents familiar or classic data in new ways, and supplements the familiar with fresh examples from a wide range of languages and social settings. It clearly explains the patterns and systems that underlie language variation in use, as well as the ways in which alternations between different language varieties index personal style, social power and national identity.

New features of the second edition:

  • a wider range of approaches to politeness theory incorporating an international range of research
  • expanded sections on multi-lingualism and code-switching, social class, dialect contact and tracking change over time 
  • linkage to the new Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader which can be used alongside this textbook, allowing students to supplement and build on material covered in the textbook.
  • a shared website serving both Reader and Textbook which includes web- and video-links, interactive exercises and an expanded online glossary at:
  • a refreshed text design to assist navigation through textbook and reader.

Each chapter includes exercises that enable readers to engage critically with the text, break-out boxes making connections between sociolinguistics and linguistic or social theory, and brief, lively add-ons guaranteed to make the book a memorable and enjoyable read. With a full glossary of terms and suggestions for further reading, this text gives students all the tools they need for an excellent command of sociolinguistics.


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1 Introduction
2 Variation and language
3 Variation and style
4 Language attitudes
5 Being polite as a variable in speech
6 Multilingualism and language choice
7 Real time and apparent time
8 Social class
10 Gender
11 Language contact
12 Looking back and looking ahead
Notes on the exercises

9 Social networks and communities of practice

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About the author (2015)

Miriam Meyerhoff hastaught sociolinguistics in places as diverse as New Zealand, Hawai'i, the mainland United States, Vanuatu and Scotland. She has consulted on sociolinguistic issues for the print and broadcast media and published books and articles on language variation, language and gender, and language contact. She is currentlyProfessorof Sociolinguistics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

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