A perfect book for an introductory undergraduate class: accessibly written, dense with examples, and comprehensive, both in terms of topic and geographic focus.
Scott Kiesling, University of Pittsburgh
'Those who, like me, use Janet Holmes inspirational Introduction to Sociolinguistics
will be delighted with this thoroughly revised and updated new edition. It is just as much fun to read as the previous editions, has the same clear, lively writing style and contains an even more comprehensive survey than before of the different topics that excite sociolinguists. The brand new chapter
broadens its appeal still further.'
Professor Jenny Cheshire, Queen Mary, Universityof London
Learning about Language
General Editors: Geoffrey Leech and Mick Short, LancasterUniversity
What is sociolinguistics?
Sociolinguistics is the study of the interaction between language and society. In this classic introductory work, Janet Holmes examines the role of language in a variety of social contexts and considers both how language works and how it can be used to signal and interpret various aspects of social identity. Written with Holmes customary enthusiasm, the book is divided into three sections which explain basic sociolinguistic concepts in the light of both classic approaches and the most recent research.
Section A examines the varying patterns of language use within multilingual speech communitiesand considers the ways in which languages change within society, highlighting the factors that can lead to language displacement and, sometimes, to language death.
Section B explores some of the social reasons behind language variation in monolingual communities and looks at the ways in which different ethnic, gender and social groups develop and maintain speech variations. The relationship between language variation and language change is also described.
Section C assesses how attitudes to language affect speech behaviour and shows that appropriate linguistic responses take account of a variety of contextual factors for example, the relative status of addresser and addressee.
This third edition has been updated thoroughly and new examples have been added to enhance understanding. A major addition to this edition is an extended chapter on discourse analysis which outlines a number of different approaches to analysing spoken language in its social context. Supported throughout by a range of exercises and suggestions for further reading, An Introduction to Sociolinguistics is an essential introductory text for all students of sociolinguistics and a splendid point of reference for students of applied linguistics. It is also an accessible guide for those who are simply interested in language and the uses we put it to.
Janet Holmes holds a personal Chair in Linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington where she teaches a range of sociolinguistics courses.