The Handbook of Language Variation and Change / Edition 1

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Written by a distinguished international roster of contributors, The Handbook of Language Variation and Change reflects the vitality, diversity, and growth of the discipline. It is a convenient, hand-held repository of the essential knowledge about the study of language variation and change. The volume presents views of linguistic variation in the diverse contexts that give it meaning and significance, across generations, social strata, and domains of interaction. It includes an extensive examination of the methodologies employed by linguists working in linguistic variation and change, addressing the levels of linguistic structure that have been the main foci of work in the field. Invaluable section introductions by the editors set out the boundaries of the field, and place each of the chapters into perspective. This authoritative resource allows the next generation of academics to perpetuate all of these fields of study and explore them with the kind of depth unimaginable to their predecessors.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is an addition to the invaluable ‘Handbook’ series from Blackwell and will be an essential purchase for anyone wishing to inform themselves about language variation and change … Each chapter is an interesting read in its own right, and it really can be read from cover to cover … It's a real achievement to maintain this level of excellence in a collection.” British Association of Applied Linguistics

"The Handbook of Language Variation and Change is a convenient, hand-held repository of the essential knowledge about the study of language variation and change. This Handbook allows the next generation of academics to perpetuate all of these fields of study and explore them with the kind of depth unimaginable to their predecessors." Folia Linguistica

"The Handbook of Language Variation and Change is a long-awaited volume which aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the 'socio-linguistic enterprise ... in its multifaceted pursuits'. This is indeed a challenge, but one that the volume thoroughly meets: it is an authoritative guide, which provides an excellent contribution to the diverse field of variationist studies." Journal of Linguistics

"Languages do not exist but in space and time. Their variability is what allows them to function as means of communication and social interaction. The present Handbook presents an up-to-date and in-depth account of how to study this aspect of language which is at the interface of historical linguistics, dialectology, and sociolinguistics. The editors and contributing authors are among the most prolific scholars in the field. Their collective effort shows us how the versatility of 'real' situated speech can be made an object of rigorous scientific investigation and what can be learned from it about language and society." Florian Coulmas, Gerhard Mercator University

"At last we have an authoritative place to go to discover the impressive accomplishments of the research on linguistic variation and change over the past forty years and to get a glimpse of the future. The editors of this Handbook have put together an excellent survey of what variationists do, produced by an admirable combination of scholars who helped found the field along with linguists from the next generation. This is an excellent volume. Buy it!" Ralph Fasold, Georgetown University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

J. K. Chambers is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Sociolinguistic Theory: Language Variation and Its Social Significance (second edition, Blackwell 2003), and co-author with Peter Trudgill of Dialectology (second edition, 1998), as well as other books and scores of articles.

Peter Trudgill is Chair of English Linguistics at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. He is author of Sociolinguistics: An Introduction to Language and Society (1996), and Dialects of England (second edition, Blackwell 1999), and co-editor with Laurie Bauer of Language Myths (1999). He is editor of Blackwell’s Language in Society series.

Natalie Schilling-Estes is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University. She is co-author of Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks: The Story of the Ocracoke Brogue (1997) and American English (Blackwell 1998), both with Walt Wolfram.

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Table of Contents

List of Contributors
Introduction 1
Studying Language Variation: An Informal Epistemology 3
Pt. I Methodologies 15
Field Methods 17
Introduction 17
1 Entering the Community: Fieldwork 20
2 Language with an Attitude 40
3 Investigating Variation and Change in Written Documents 67
4 Inferring Variation and Change from Public Corpora 97
Introduction 115
5 The Quantitative Paradigm 117
6 Implicational Scales 142
7 Instrumental Phonetics 168
Pt. II Linguistic Structure 201
Introduction 203
8 Variation and Phonological Theory 206
9 Investigating Chain Shifts and Mergers 244
10 Variation and Syntactic Theory 267
11 Discourse Variation 283
Pt. III Social Factors 307
Time 309
Introduction 309
12 Real and Apparent Time 312
13 Child Language Variation 333
14 Patterns of Variation including Change 349
Social Differentiation 373
Introduction 373
15 Investigating Stylistic Variation 375
16 Social Class 402
17 Sex and Gender in Variationist Research 423
18 Ethnicity 444
Domains 473
Introduction 473
19 Language and Identity 475
20 The Family 500
21 Communities of Practice 526
22 Social Networks 549
23 The Speech Community 573
Pt. IV Contact 599
Introduction 601
24 Space and Spatial Diffusion 603
25 Linguistic Outcomes of Language Contact 638
26 Koineization and Accommodation 669
Pt. V Language and Societies 703
Introduction 705
27 Linguistic and Social Typology 707
28 Comparative Sociolinguistics 729
29 Language Death and Dying 764
Index 788
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