Introducing Sociolinguistics

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9780415399487: Introducing Sociolinguistics

'Here is a welcome introduction to sociolinguistics by a leading researcher in the field. Users will be inspired by the breadth and sweep of Meyerhoff's treatment.' – William Labov, University of Pennsylvania, USA

'Miriam Meyerhoff’s entertaining volume revels in the diversity that is the cornerstone of sociolinguistics – she takes us to every continent to provide contemporary, refreshing and engaging examples of the key concepts of the discipline, and does so in a well-paced and readable style. The book is authoritative yet open-minded, innovative yet touches all the bases that need to be touched. Most of all, it embodies a passion for sociolinguistics that I hope many readers will embrace.' – David Britain, University of Essex, UK 

This key text provides a solid, up-to-date appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of the field. It covers foundation issues, recent advances and current debates – presenting familiar or classic data in new ways, and supplementing 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.

Individual chapters cover:

  • social dialects and individual style
  • language attitudes
  • politeness
  • multilingualism and language choice
  • real time and apparent time change in language
  • social class, social networks and communities of practice
  • gender
  • language and dialect contact.

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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About the Author:

Miriam Meyerhoff has lived and taught in New Zealand, Hawai'i, the mainland United Stages, Vanuatu and Scotland. Her main research interests lie in the study of language and gender, and in studies of language contact, especially the creole languages of the Pacific and Caribbean. She is an active researcher and contributor to both fields. She served as secretary for the International Gender and Language Association and has been a member of the LSA's Committee on the Status of Women, and from 2006 has been co-editor for the Creole Language Library. She is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Review:

"This volume offers a fresh, hands-on, practical approach to presenting the basics of sociolinguistics...each chapter offers further readings, and usefully, Meyerhoff also adds a one-line essence of each suggested source. I unhesitatingly recommend this book to everyone wishing an entertaining, very readable and easy-to-process sociolinguistic introduction."

--Gergely Toth, Interdisciplinary Journal for Germanic Linguistics and Semiotic Analysis, Vol. 13, No. 2, Fall 2008

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