Note: This is a new edition of a previously published title.
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Sociolinguistics is one of the central branches of modern linguistics and
deals with the place of language in human societies. This second edition of
Introducing Sociolinguistics expertly synthesises the main approaches to
the subject. The book covers areas such as multilingualism, code-choice,
language variation, dialectology, interactional studies, gender, language
contact, language and inequality, and language and power. At the same time
it provides an integrated perspective on these themes by examining
sociological theories of human interaction. In this regard power and
inequality are particularly significant. The book also contains two
chapters on the applications of sociolinguistics (in education and in
language policy and planning) and a concluding chapter on the
sociolinguistics of sign language. New topics covered include speaking
style and stylisation, while current debates in areas like creolisation,
globalisation and language death, language planning, and gender are reflected.
Written collaboratively by teachers and scholars with first hand experience
of sociolinguistic developments on four continents, this book provides the
broadest introduction currently available to the central topics in
Provides a solid foundation in all aspects of sociolinguistics and explores
important themes such as power and inequality, sign language, gender and
Well illustrated with maps, diagrams, inset boxes, drawings and cartoons
Accessibly written with the beginner in mind
Uses numerous examples from multilingual settings
Explains basic concepts, supported by a glossary
Further Reading lists, a full bibliography, and a section on 'next steps'
provide valuable guidance.
Rajend Mesthrie is Professor of Linguistics in the English Department at
the University of Cape Town.
Joan Swann is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Language and
Communication in the School of Education at the Open University, UK.
Ana Deumert is Associate Professor in the Linguistics Section, Department
of English, University of Cape Town.
William Leap is Professor of Anthropology at the American University,
Table of contents
List of tables x
List of maps x
List of figures xi
Note to readers xxiv
1. Clearing the ground: Basic issues, concepts and approaches
Rajend Mesthrie 1
2. Regional dialectology
Rajend Mesthrie 42
3. Social dialectology
Rajend Mesthrie 74
4. Language variation and change
Ana Deumert and Rajend Mesthrie 109
5. Language choice and code-switching
Joan Swann 146
6. Language in interaction
Joan Swann 183
7. Gender and language use
Joan Swann 213
8. Language contact 1: Maintenance, shift and death
Rajend Mesthrie and William L. Leap 242
9. L anguage contact 2: Pidgins, Creoles and 'New Englishes'
Rajend Mesthrie 271
10. Critical sociolinguistics: Approaches to language and power
Rajend Mesthrie and Ana Deumert 309
11. Sociolinguistics and education
Rajend Mesthrie and William L. Leap 344
12. Language planning and policy
Ana Deumert 371
13. The sociolinguistics of sign language
Ana Deumert 407
Further reading 445
Next steps 449