Sociolinguistic Theory / Edition 3

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The revised edition of Sociolinguistic Theory presents a critical synthesis of sociolinguistics, centering on the study of language variation and change.

  • A revised introduction to sociolinguistic theory by one of the top scholars in the field
  • Provides a critical synthesis of sociolinguistics that centres on the study of language variation and change, now incorporating the latest developments in the field
  • Shows how empirical explorations have made sociolinguistics the most stimulating field in the contemporary study of language
  • Discusses the linguistic variable and its significance, crucial social variables such as social stratification, sex,
    and age, and the cultural significance of linguistic variation
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Chambers offers a lucid introduction to the basic issues that relate language and society, and leads the reader directly to the quantitative data that define the field. At each turn, we benefit from his personal and insightful weighing of the evidence on why we speak the way we do.”

William Labov, University of Pennsylvania

“This book is indispensable for everybody in the field, from undergraduates to advanced researchers. Well-written, engaged, and inspiring, it is at the same time a state-of-the-art account of variationist sociolinguistics and a challenge to go on and enhance our knowledge.”

Daniel Schreier, University of Zürich

“Professor Chambers's book successfully combines a theoretical grounding in variationist sociolinguistics with generous descriptions of the research on which the theories are based. This makes it particularly inspiring for students who themselves want to try their hands at this field of study.”

Mats Mobärg, University of Gothenburg

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405152464
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/28/2008
  • Series: Language in Society Series
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

J. K. Chambers is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Toronto. He is co-editor of The Handbook of Language Variation and Change (with Peter Trudgill and Natalie Schilling-Estes, Wiley-Blackwell, 2002), co-author (with Peter Trudgill) of Dialectology (2nd edition, 1998), and also author of other books and scores of articles. He works extensively as a forensic consultant, and maintains a parallel vocation in jazz criticism, including the prizewinning biography Milestones: The Music and Times of Miles Davis (1998).

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Table of Contents

List of Figures.

List of Tables.

Series Editor’s Preface.

Preface to the First Edition.

Preface to the Second Edition.

Preface to the Revised Edition.


1. Correlations.

1.1 The Domain of Sociolinguistics.

1.2 The Variable as a Structural Unit.

1.3 Variation and the Tradition of Categoricity.

2. Class, Network, and Mobility.

2.1 Social Class and Sociolinguistic Sampling.

2.2 Indexing Social Class.

2.3 Class Markers.

2.4 The Effects of Mobility.

2.5 Homogenization.

2.6 Networks.

2.7 Linguistic Correlates of Network Integration.

2.8 Interaction of Network and Other Independent Variables.

2.9 Oddballs and Insiders.

3. Expressing Sex and Gender.

3.1 The Interplay of Biology and Sociology.

3.2 Sex Patterns with Stable Variables.

3.3 Language, Gender, and Mobility in Two Communities.

3.4 Sex and Gender Differences in Language.

3.5 Male and Female Speech Patterns in Other Societies.

3.6 Linguistic Evidence for Sex and Gender Differences.

4. Accents in Time.

4.1 Aging.

4.2 The Acquisition of Sociolects.

4.3 Family and Friends.

4.4 Declarations of Adolescence.

4.5 Young Adults in the Talk Market.

4.6 Changes in Progress.

5. Adaptive Significance of Language Variation.

5.1 The Babelian Hypothesis.

5.2 Global Counteradaptivity and Local Adaptivity.

5.3 Dialects in Lower Animals.

5.4 The Persistence of the Non-standard.

5.5 Traditional Theories of the Sources of Diversity.

5.6 A Sociolinguistic Theory of the Sources of Diversity.

5.7 Vernacular Roots.

5.8 Linguistic Variation and Social Identity.




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