One of the first accounts of social variation in language, this groundbreaking study founded the discipline of sociolinguistics, providing the model on which thousands of studies have been based. In this second edition, Labov looks back on forty years of sociolinguistic research, bringing the reader up to date on its methods, findings and achievements. In over thirty pages of new material, he explores the unforeseen implications of his earlier work, addresses the political issues involved, and evaluates the success of newer approaches to sociolinguistic investigation. In doing so, he reveals the outstanding accomplishments of sociolinguistics since his original study, which laid the foundations for studying language variation, introduced the crucial concept of the linguistic variable, and showed how variation across age groups is an indicator of language change. Bringing Labov's pioneering study into the 21st century, this classic volume will remain the benchmark in the field for years to come.
Part I. Problems and Methods of Analysis: 1. The study of language in its social context; 2. First approach to the structure of New York City English; 3. The social stratification of English in New York City department stores; 4. The isolation of contextual style; 5. The linguistic interview; 6. The survey of the lower east side; Part II. Social Differentiation: 7. Class differentiation of the variables; 8. Further analysis of the variables; 9. Distribution of the variables in apparent time; 10. Other linguistic variables; Part III. Social Evaluation: 11. Subjective evaluation of the variables; 12. Self-evaluation and linguistic security; 13. General attitudes towards the speech of New York City; Part IV. Synthesis: 14. The structure of the New York City vowel system.