An Introduction to Sociolinguistics / Edition 6

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In 1986 Ronald Wardhaugh provided the world of sociolinguistics with a popular and accessible textbook for introductory students. Keeping in step with this ever-changing field, this fifth edition has been thoroughly revised with 130 new and updated references and increased emphasis on issues of identity, solidarity, and power.

Extensive discussion topics and recommendations for further reading accompany each chapter and featured topics include: language dialects, pidgins and creoles, speech communities, variation, words and culture, ethnographies, solidarity and politeness, talk and action, gender, disadvantage, and planning. This classic in the field assumes little previous knowledge of linguistics, anthropology, or sociology and may be used at an introductory level or as a supplementary text in higher-level courses.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Comprehensively, the book provides a rich source of overviews of the field of sociolinguistics that will undoubtedly afford researchers and students in the area insightful knowledge evoking additional future dialogue and research." (LINGUIST List, December 2010)

Praise for Previous Editions

“The standard text in advanced undergraduate and introductory graduate courses” (Language)

“Among the various introductions to sociolinguistics, this one certainly stands out in its comprehensiveness… it offers a wealth of relevant and correct information” (Sociolinguistica)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405186681
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/19/2009
  • Series: Blackwell Textbooks in Linguistics Series, #16
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 704,601
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald Wardhaugh is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto. He is the author of a number of books, including Proper English (1998) and Understanding English Grammar (second edition, 2003), both published by Wiley-Blackwell.

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Table of Contents



1. Introduction

Knowledge of Language


Language and Society

Sociolinguistics and the Sociology of Language

Methodological Concerns


Further Reading

Part I: Languages and Communities:

2. Languages, Dialects, and Varieties

Language or Dialect?


Regional Dialects

Social Dialects

Styles, Registers, and Beliefs

Further Reading

3. Pidgins and Creoles

Lingua Francas


Distribution and Characteristics


From Pidgin to Creole and Beyond

Further Reading

4. Codes


Bilingualism and Multilingualism



Further Reading

5. Speech Communities


Intersecting Communities

Networks and Repertoires

Further Reading

Part II: Inherent Variety:

6. Language Variation

Regional Variation

The Linguistic Variable

Social Variation

Data Collection and Analysis

Further Reading

7. Some Findings and Issues

An Early Study

New York City

Norwich and Reading

A Variety of Studies



Further Reading

8. Change

The Traditional View

Some Changes in Progress

The Process of Change

Further Reading

Part III: Words at Work:

9. Words and Culture






Taboo and Euphemism

Further Reading

10. Ethnographies

Varieties of Talk

The Ethnography of Speaking


Further Reading

11. Solidarity and Politeness

Tu and Vous

Address Terms


Further Reading

12. Talk and Action

Speech Acts



Further Reading

Part IV: Understanding and Intervening:

13. Gender


Possible Explanations

Further Reading

14. Disadvantage

Codes Again

African American English

Consequences for Education

Further Reading

15. Planning


A Variety of Situations

Further Examples

Winners and Losers

Further Reading

16. Conclusion



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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 22, 2012

    It's a plus for me- check it out!

    Great teachers' reference material. The ebook format allows you to read whenever and wherever you want. While reading it you get to highlight important information and take notes, too.

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