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Language in Society: An introduction to the Study of Sociolinguistics
Course code: ELCS6028
Tutor: Christine Sas
Mode of Assessment: 2 assessed essays of 2000 words each
Term: taught in term 2
Focussing on the central question of sociolinguistics as defined by Joshua Fishman (1965): ‘Who speaks what language to whom and when?’, the course will provide an introduction to the field of sociolinguistics and its application to the study of language variety in Europe and beyond. We will look at language variety and change in a social context, and we will discuss the following questions: why do people speak differently, even though they live next door to each other? Why do certain grammatical “errors” persist? What is the social significance of new language varieties and the disappearance of others? Do language changes occur naturally or do people have an impact on them? Who decides on the forms and norms of a standard language, and why does it matter? Do men and women really speak differently?
Topics will include: the study of regional and social language variation, multilingual societies, regional and immigrant minority languages, language and ethnicity, language planning and policy, language diaspora, language standardisation, and language and gender. For each topic, there is an introductory session where key theoretical and research concepts in sociolinguistics are discussed, followed by case studies from a variety of European languages, including studies from the Low Countries. For each session, students are expected to read and study a selection of articles and contribute to class discussions in which they will be encouraged to make comparisons to their own language backgrounds.
- Blommaert, J., Verschueren J. (1998). Debating Diversity. Analysing the discourse of tolerance. London: Routledge
- Cameron, D (1998). The Feminist Critique of Language. London: Routledge
- Extra, G., Yağmur K. (eds.) (2004). Urban Multilingualism in Europe. Immigrant minority languages at home and at school. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters..
- Hellinger, Marlis, Bußmann Hadumod (2003). The linguistic representation of women and men. Amsterdam: John Benjamins
- Holmes, Janet (2008). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. London: Longman
- Meyerhoff, Miriam (2011). Introducing Sociolinguistics. London/NY: Routledge
- Mooney, A [et al] (2011). Language, society and power. London: Routledge
- Mooney, A [et al] (eds.) (2011). The Language, Society and Power Reader. London: Routlegde
- Rampton Ben (2005). Crossing. Language and Ethnicity among Adolescents. Manchester, Northampton: St. Jerome Publishing.
- Romaine, Suzanne (2000). Language and society. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Oxford: OUP
- Smakman Dick (2006). Standard Dutch in the Netherlands. A Sociolinguistic and Phonetic Description. Utrecht: LOT.