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Other titles in the Language in Society series:
Sociolinguistics (Language in Society)by Lesley Milroy
Synopses & Reviews
Questions of how to access and analyze actual language use are central to the study of language in its social context. Sociolinguistics: Method and Interpretation presents a thorough and practical description of current sociolinguistic methodology while recognizing that methodological decisions can never be separated from questions of theory. The result is a critical account that stresses the need for the entire research process, from the initial design of the project to the interpretation of results, to be grounded in theoretically defensible positions.
Milroy and Gordon show how the research paradigm established by a few influential pioneers has been fruitfully expanded by new trends. Sociolinguistics considers issues of speaker selection and data collection; social dimensions of linguistic variation; syntactic and phonological variation; and style-shifting and code-switching. This book is a vital resource for helping readers design their research and evaluate the research of others.
Questions of how to access and analyze actual language use are central to the study of language in its social context. This work presents a practical description of current sociolinguistic methodology while recognizing that methodological decisions can never be separated from questions of theory.
Sociolinguistics: Method and Interpretation presents a thorough and practical description of current sociolinguistic methodology while recognizing that methodological decisions can never be separated from questions of theory.
About the Author
‘Milroy and Gordon give us the first comprehensive survey of research methods that takes in the breadth and scope of sociolinguistics as it has come to maturity. They relate analytic methods to research goals and always keep an eye on matters of interpretation and evaluation that give meaning to quantitative and statistical results. This book is a valuable resource not only for students but also for experienced researchers.’ J. K. Chambers, University of Toronto <!--end-->
‘Given the accelerating, visible growth of sociolinguistics, it is surprising that there are practically no books dedicated to methods. This is a welcome exception. But it is more than a discussion of techniques; it is firmly grounded in current sociolinguistic theory. The combination of an experienced fieldworker and analyst, and an up-and-coming scholar has resulted in one of the most useful texts in variation studies to be published in the last decade.’ Walt Wolfram, North Carolina State University
Table of Contents
1. Sociolinguistics: Models and Methods:.
Data and Theory.
Earlier Approaches to Linguistic Description.
The American Descriptivists.
Adaptations of the Traditional Model.
Between Paradigms: Early Urban Studies.
Bridging Paradigms: Adaptations of Traditional Dialectology.
2. Locating and Selecting Subjects:.
Some General Principles.
Defining the Sampling Universe.
Stratification and Sample Size.
Quota and Judgment Sampling.
Research Objectives and Sampling: Some Examples.
Sampling and Age.
Sampling and Social Class.
3. Data Collection:.
Survey Approaches to Data Collection.
Rapid and Anonymous Surveys.
The Structure and Design of the Interview.
Interviews as Speech Events.
Interview Strategies for Eliciting Casual Speech.
Balancing Fieldwork Strategies: The Belfast Project.
The Community Studies.
The Belfast Doorstep Survey.
The Rural Hinterland Study.
Preservation of Anonymity and Access to Recordings.
The Researcher's Responsibility.
4. Language Variation and the social World: Issues in Analysis and Interpretation:.
Social Categories and Theories of Change.
Social Class and Sociolinguistic Research.
Models of Social Class.
Interpreting Correlations between Language and Social Class.
Sex and Gender.
Social Class and Gender.
Gender and Language Variation: Some Further Issues.
Ethnicity and Race.
Language, Race and Ethnicity in the United States.
Language and Ethnicity in Northern Ireland.
5. Social Relationships and Social Practices:.
The Concept of Social Network.
Social Network and Community of Practice.
Social Networks and Language Variation.
Network Structure and Language Shift in Bilingual Communities.
Weak Network Ties and Theories of Language Change.
The Sociolinguistics of Mobility: Place as a Cultural Concept.
6. Investigating Phonological Variation:.
Identifying and Selecting Variables.
Types of Phonological Variables.
Choosing and Specifying Variables.
An Evaluation of Measurement Techniques.
The Linguistic Analysis of Phonological Variables.
Defining the Range of Variation.
The Relationships among Variants: Issues of Interpretation.
Comments about Quantification.
How Many Tokens are Needed?.
Use of Statistical Analysis.
7. Beyond Phonology: Analyzing and Interpreting Higher Level Variation:.
Data Collection Issues.
Grammatical Variables and Historical Linguistics.
Syntactic Analysis and the Sociolinguistic Variable.
Some Early Work.
The Principle of Accountability and the Envelope of Variation.
Semantic Equivalence and the Discourse Context.
Variationist Analysis and Syntactic Theory.
8. Style-shifting and Code-Switching:.
Style as a Response to Situation.
Stylistic Variation as a Function of Attention Paid to Speech.
Style as Audience Design.
Style as Initiative and Strategic.
“Allocational” and “Interactional” Paradigms.
Language Choice and Code-switching: Three Case Studies.
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