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Synopses & Reviews
Sociolinguistic Theory presents a critical synthesis of sociolinguistics that centers on the study of language variation and change, and identifies opportunities for future research.
Since the inception of sociolinguistics four decades ago, the correlation of dependent linguistic variables with independent social variables has provided the theoretical core of the discipline. This volume reviews the essential findings that form its foundation and shows how empirical explorations have made it the most stimulating field in the contemporary study of language.
Sociolinguistic Theory discusses the linguistic variable and its significance, crucial social variables such as social stratification, sex, and age, and the cultural significance of linguistic variation. This second edition has been updated to incorporate new findings and expand on the discussion of communicative competence and developmental sociolinguistics.
Sociolinguistic Theory presents a critical synthesis of Sociolinguistics centring on the study of language variation and change. It reviews the essential findings of William Labov, Lesley Milroy and James Milroy, David Sankoff, Gillian Sankoff, Peter Trudgill, Walt Wolfram and many others, focussing on the crucial variables of social stratification, sex and age.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -276) and index.
About the Author
J. K. Chambers is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Toronto. He is the co-editor, with Peter Trudgill and Natalie Schilling-Estes, of The Handbook of Language Variation and Change (Blackwell 2002) and co-author, with Peter Trudgill, of Dialectology (second edition, 1998), as well as other books and scores of articles. He works extensively as a forensic consultant and maintains a parallel vocation in jazz criticism, including the prize-winning biography Milestones: The Music and Times of Miles Davis (1998).
Table of Contents
List of Figures.
List of Tables.
Series Editor's Preface.
Part I: Correlations:.
1The Domain of Sociolinguistics.
Sociolinguistics and the Sociology of Language.
2. The Variable as a Structural Unit.
Coexistent Systems and Free Variation.
Figures and Tables.
3. Variation and the Tradition of Categoricity.
Langue and Parole.
The Axiom of Categoricity.
Saussure and the Mainstream.
Linguistics without Categoricity.
Categorical Theory and Variation Theory.
Categoricity in other Disciplines.
Part II: Class, Network and Mobility:.
4. Social Class and Sociolinguistic Sampling.
Blue Collar and White Collar.
5. Indexing Social Class.
The Primacy of Occupation as a Determinant of Class.
6. Class Markers.
Spreading the News in Westertown.
Boston "short o".
7. The Effects of Mobility.
Caste and Class.
Mobility in Language Variation.
Hungarian imperative declaratives.
New York (th) and (dh).
Mobility as a Levelling Force.
/a/ -deletion in Sheshatshiu.
/ou/ in Milton Keynes.
The Persistence of Homogenization.
(aw) -Fronting in Canada.
Dialect Laws of Mobility and Isolation.
Some Network studies.
Measures of Network Bonds.
Measures of Network Integration.
10. Linguistic Correlates of Network Integration.
Phonological Markers in Martha's Vineyard.
Grammatical Markers in the Reading playgrounds.
11. Interaction of Network and Other Independent Variables.
The linguistic Limits of Individualization.
Part III: Expressing Sex and Gender:.
13. The Interplay of Biology and Sociology.
Sex and gender.
Gender and grammatical gender.
Some Sex Differences.
Probabilistic, not Absolute, Differences.
Vocal Pitch as a Sex difference.
14. Gender Patterns with Stable Variables.
15. Language, Gender, and Mobility in Two Communities.
Inner city Detroit.
16. Causes of Sex and Gender Differences.
17. Male and Female Speech Patterns in Other Societies.
Limits on Female-male Differences.
Punitive differences in Japan.
The Middle East.
18. Linguistic Evidence for Sex and Gender Differences.
Part IV: Accents in Time:.
Physical and cultural indicators.
Some Linguistic Indicators.
20. The Acquisition of Sociolects.
Labov's six stages.
Development of Stylistic and Social Variants.
Three formative periods.
21. Family and Friends.
Generational Differences in Bilingual Situations.
Parents versus Peers.
22. Declaration of Adolescence.
An Adolescent Majority.
Outer Markings including Slang.
Adolescent networks and linguistic variation.
23. Young Adults in the Talk Market.
The marché linguistique in Montreal.
Auxiliary avoir and être.
Playing the talk market.
Linguistic stability in middle and old age.
24. Changes in Progress.
Real time and apparent time.
Testing the apparent-time hypothesis.
Part V: Adaptive Significance of Language Variation:.
25. The Babelian Hypothesis.
The evidence of subjective reaction tests.
Dialect as a source of conflict.
26. Global Counteradaptivity and Local Adaptivity.
Counter adaptivity and power.
Adaptivity and Community.
27. Dialects in Lower Animals.
Buzzy and Clear white-crowned Sparrows.
The Theory of Genetic Adaptation.
The theory of social adaptation.
28. The Persistence of the Non-Standard.
Status and solidarity.
29. Traditional Theories of the Sources of Diversity.
Variation and Climates.
Variation and Contact.
The prevalence of diversity.
30. A Sociolinguistic Theory of the Sources of Diversity.
Linguistic diversity and Social Strata.
Two Tenets about Standard Dialects.
Naturalness beyond Phonetics.
Two Constraints on Variation in Standard Dialects.
31. Vernacular Roots.
Diffusionist and Structural Explanations.
Problems with the Diffusionist Position.
The Internal-structural Position.
Primitive and Learned Features.
32. Linguistic Variation and Social Identity.
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