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

  • ISBN-13: 9781405116923
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/15/2004
  • Series: Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 832
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 2.01 (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 (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.


Studying Language Variation: An Informal Epistemology: J.K. Chambers.

Part I: Methodologies:.

Field Methods.

Introduction: Natalie Schilling-Estes.

1. Entering the Community: Field Work: Crawford Feagin.

2. Language with an Attitude: Dennis Preston.

3. Investigating Variation and Change in Written Documents: Edgar W. Schneider.

4. Inferring Variation and Change from Public Corpora: Laurie Bauer.


Introduction: J.K. Chambers.

5. The Quantitative Paradigm: Robert Bayley.

6. Implicational Scales: John R. Rickford.

7. Instrumental Phonetics: Erik R. Thomas.

Part II: Linguistic Structure:.

Introduction: Natalie Schilling-Estes.

8. Variation and Phonological Theory: Arto Anttila.

9. Investigating Chain Shifts and Mergers: Matthew Gordon.

10. Variation and Syntactic Theory: Alison Henry.

11. Discourse Variation: Ronald Macaulay.

Part III: Social Factors:.


Introduction: Natalie Schilling-Estes.

12. Real and Apparent Time: Guy Bailey.

13. Child Language Variation: Julie Roberts.

14. Patterns of Variation, Including Change: J.K. Chambers.

Social Differentiation.

Introduction: Peter Trudgill.

15. Investigating Stylistic Variation: Natalie Schilling-Estes.

16. Social Class: Sharon Ash.

17. Sex and Gender in Variationist Research: Jenny Cheshire.

18. Ethnicity: Carmen Fought.


Introduction: Peter Trudgill.

19. Language and Identity: Norma Mendoza-Denton.

20. The Family: Kirk Hazen.

21. Communities of Practice: Miriam Meyerhoff.

22. Social Networks: Lesley Milroy.

23. The Speech Community: Peter L. Patrick.

Part IV: Contact:.

Introduction: Peter Trudgill.

24. Space and Spatial Diffusion: David Britain.

25. Linguistic Outcomes of Language Contact: Gillian Sankoff.

26. Koineization and Accommodation: Paul Kerswill.

Part V: Language and Societies:.

Introduction: J.K. Chambers.

27. Linguistic and Social Typology: Peter Trudgill.

28. Comparative Sociolinguistics: Sali Tagliamonte.

29. Language Death and Dying: Walt Wolfram.


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