LINGUIST List 14.2488

Fri Sep 19 2003

Diss: Sociolin: Moore: 'Learning Style...'

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <>


  1. emma.moore, Learning Style and Identity

Message 1: Learning Style and Identity

Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 06:11:33 +0000
From: emma.moore <>
Subject: Learning Style and Identity

Institution: University of Manchester
Program: School of English and Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Emma Moore 

Dissertation Title: Learning Style and Identity: A Sociolinguistic
Analysis of a Bolton High School

Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics 

Subject Language: English (code: ENG)

Dissertation Director 1: David Denison
Dissertation Director 2: Richard Hogg
Dissertation Director 3: Penelope Eckert

Dissertation Abstract: 

This study provides a sociolinguistic account of a group of girls from
a high school in Bolton, Greater Manchester, England, and illustrates
that linguistic meaning is generated in social practice. Using the
ethnographic technique of participant observation, it follows girls
from a single year group who were aged 12-13 at the start of the study
and 14-15 when the last data was collected. The girls are analysed
according to their shared participation in social activity and the
account demonstrates that the social meaning of their linguistic
variation is constructed in the styles (or shared repertoires) of the
practice-based communities created by the girls. Consequently, this
study does not simply correlate social membership with individual
linguistic variables, but considers how linguistic variables are used
as resources in the construction of social identities.

The linguistic variables considered in the analysis are: nonstandard
were, negative concord, tag questions and right dislocation. The
quantitative analysis reveals how these variables pattern within and
across the practice-based communities. By noting the contrasts and
commonalities within the sociolinguistic landscape, the study
considers how the linguistic variables contribute to a broad system of
differentiation constructed by the high school girls.

This study provides a situated sociolinguistic account one which is
not abstracted from the social context, but embedded within it. It
rejects the notion that language simply reflects society and engages
with social and anthropological discourses in order to consider the
co-constitutive relationship between language and society.
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