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The Study of Speakers' Choices

2nd Edition


  • Date Published: August 2013
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107675568

£ 30.99

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About the Authors
  • Why do we speak the way we do? What are the social factors that influence our choices of expression? This best-selling introduction to the study of language and society encourages students to think about these fundamental questions, asking how and why we select from the vast range of different words, accents, varieties and languages available to us. In this new and updated edition, students are taken step-by-step through the analysis of linguistic expressions, speech varieties and languages in complex settings. Enriched with recent findings from different languages and speech communities around the world, this comprehensive textbook equips students with knowledge of the main concepts and gives them a coherent view of the complex interaction of language and society. • 'Questions for Discussion' help students understand how speakers' choices are conditioned by the society in which they live • New to this edition is a rich repertoire of online resources and further reading, enabling students to investigate more deeply and advance their learning • Includes a topical new chapter on research ethics, guiding students on the ethical questions involved in sociolinguistic research.

    • Enables students to refer to additional materials by including a list of useful online resources at the end of each chapter
    • Questions for discussion help students to deepen their understanding of the chapter contents
    • The common theme that connects all chapters (the choice of language or expression), helps facilitate the development of a theoretical understanding of the complex field of sociolinguistics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'To write a great introductory text you have to make a statement about fundamental issues. Here, the notion of choice bridges the gap between micro and macrosociolinguistics and brings both cohesion and edge to the book.' Frans Gregersen, The Lanchart Centre, University of Copenhagen

    'This is the book I'd [choose] to introduce students to the fast developing field of sociolinguistics, for it combines clear explanations with intriguing examples.' Bernard Spolsky, Professor Emeritus, Bar-Ilan University

    'A highly original synthesis of decades of sociolinguistics research, and an agenda setter, around the key notion of 'choice', for many years to come.' Li Wei, Birkbeck, University of London

    '… a well-written compendium, providing readers with a concise, yet elaborate description of sociolinguistic research … The topics addressed are broad and wide-sweeping, showing the diversity of sociolinguistic research while at the same time making each arena seem accessible to the novice researcher. It was a pleasant read, informative, and extremely useful. … an excellent book.' Brad Miller, Journal of Sociolinguistics

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    Product details

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: August 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107675568
    • length: 318 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 173 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • contains: 33 b/w illus. 2 maps 20 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction: notions of language
    Part I. Micro-choices:
    2. Standard and dialect: social stratification as a factor of linguistic choice
    3. Gendered speech: sex as a factor of linguistic choice
    4. Communicating across generations: age as a factor of linguistic choice
    5. Choice and change
    6. Politeness: cultural dimensions of linguistic choice
    Part II. Macro-choices:
    7. Code-switching: linguistic choices across language boundaries
    8. Diglossia and bilingualism: functional restrictions on language choice
    9. Language spread, shift and maintenance: how groups choose their language
    10. Language and identity: individual, social, national
    11. Language planning: communication demands, public choice, utility
    12. Select letters: a major divide
    13. The language of choice
    14. Research ethics.

  • Resources for


    Florian Coulmas

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  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Language in Society
    • language and environment
  • Author

    Florian Coulmas, German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tokyo
    Florian Coulmas is Director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tokyo. He has published widely in the field of sociolinguistics and is associate editor of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language. His previous books include Literacy and Linguistic Minorities (1984), Language Adaptation (Cambridge University Press, 1989), Language and Economy (1992), The Handbook of Sociolinguistics (1997) and Writing Systems (Cambridge University Press, 2003).

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