The Handbook of Language Variation and Change / Edition 1

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The Handbook of Language Variation and Change, written by a distinguished international roster of contributors, reflects the vitality and growth of the discipline in its multifaceted pursuits. It is a convenient, hand-held repository of the essential knowledge about the study of language variation and change.
  • Written by internationally recognized experts in the field.
  • Reflects the vitality and growth of the discipline.
  • Discusses the ideas that drive the field and is illustrated with empirical studies.
  • Includes explanatory introductions which set out the boundaries of the field and place each of the chapters into perspective.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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, Chuo 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

"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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631218036
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Series: Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 832
  • Product dimensions: 7.05 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.97 (d)

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 (1995), and co-author, with Peter Trudgill, of Dialectology (second edition, 1998), as well as other books and scores of articles. He also works extensively as a forensic consultant and maintains a parallel vocation in jazz criticism which has included writing a prizewinning biography Milestones: The Music and Times of Miles Davis (1998).

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.


Studying Language Variation: An Informal Epistemology: J.K. Chambers (University of Toronto, Canada).

Part I: Methodologies:.

Field Methods:.

Introduction: Natalie Schilling-Estes (Georgetown University, USA).

1. Entering the Community: Field Work: Crawford Feagin (University of Zurich, Switzerland).

2. Language with an Attitude: Dennis Preston (Michigan State University, USA).

3. Investigating Variation and Change in Written Documents: Edgar W. Schneider (University of Regensburg, Germany).

4. Inferring Variation and Change from Public Corpora: Laurie Bauer (Victoria University of Wellington, NZ).


Introduction: J.K. Chambers (University of Toronto, Canada).

5. The Quantitative Paradigm: Robert Bayley (University of Texas at San Antonio, USA).

6. Implicational Scales: John R. Rickford (Stanford University, USA).

7. Instrumental Phonetics: Erik R. Thomas (North Carolina State University, USA).

Part II: Linguistic Structure:.

Introduction: Natalie Schilling-Estes (Georgetown University, USA).

8. Variation and Phonological Theory: Arto Anttila (Boston University/National University of Singapore).

9. Investigating Chain Shifts and Mergers: Matthew Gordon (University of Missouri at Columbia, USA).

10. Variation and Syntactic Theory: Alison Henry (Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland).

11. Discourse Variation: Ronald Macaulay (Pitzer College, USA).

Part III: Social Factors:.


Introduction: Natalie Schilling-Estes (Georgetown University, USA).

12. Real and Apparent Time: Guy Bailey (University of Texas at San Antonio, USA).

13. Child Language Variation: Julie Roberts (University of Vermont, USA).

14. Patterns of Variation, Including Change: J.K. Chambers (University of Toronto, Canada).

Social Differentiation:.

Introduction: Peter Trudgill (University of Fribourg, Switzerland).

15. Investigating Stylistic Variation: Natalie Schilling-Estes (Georgetown University, USA).

16. Social Class: Sharon Ash (University of Pennsylvania, USA).

17. Sex and Gender in Variationist Research: Jenny Cheshire (Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, England).

18. Ethnicity: Carmen Fought (Pitzer College, USA).


Introduction: Peter Trudgill (University of Fribourg, Switzerland).

19. Language and Identity: Norma Mendoza-Denton (University of Arizona, USA).

20. The Family: Kirk Hazen (West Virginia University, USA).

21. Communities of Practice: Miriam Meyerhoff (University of Edinburgh, Scotland).

22. Social Networks: Lesley Milroy (University of Michigan, USA).

23. The Speech Community: Peter L. Patrick (Essex University, England).

Part IV: Contact:.

Introduction: Peter Trudgill (University of Fribourg, Switzerland).

24. Space and Spatial Diffusion: David Britain (Essex University, England).

25. Linguistic Outcomes of Language Contact: Gillian Sankoff (University of Pennsylvania, USA).

26. Koineization and Accommodation: Paul Kerswill (Reading University, England).

Part V: Language and Societies:.

Introduction: J.K. Chambers (University of Toronto, Canada).

27. Linguistic and Social Typology: Peter Trudgill (University of Fribourg, Switzerland).

28. Comparative Sociolinguistics: Sali Tagliamonte (University of York, England).

29. Language Death and Dying: Walt Wolfram (North Carolina State University, USA).


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