LING-481 Sociolinguistic Variation
Fall for 2017-2018

Language varies: within speakers, across speakers, and over time. This course is a theoretical and practical introduction to variationist sociolinguistics, the subfield of linguistics concerned with understanding the relationship between variation and language change and with describing and accounting for variation in terms of the linguistic and social factors which underlie it. What are the objects of study in sociolinguistic research? What kinds of questions can we ask about the relationship between language and society, and how do we go about addressing these quantitatively? We’ll pursue answers to these foundational questions by reading classic and contemporary papers in the field – about old fishermen, Harlem teens, Cajun women, nerd girls, frat guys, New Zealanders with attitudes, Polish migrants in Manchester, and other remarkable language users– and apply what we’ve learned to group and individual projects exploring particular cases of variation.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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