Language, Society, and New Media: Sociolinguistics Today, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Language, Society, and New Media

Sociolinguistics Today, 2nd Edition

By Marcel Danesi


306 pages

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This book uses an interdisciplinary approach, integrating frameworks from sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology and emerging strands of research on language and new media, to demonstrate the relationship between language, society, thought, and culture to students with little to no background in linguistics. Couched in this integrative “cultural linguistic” approach, each chapter covers the significant topics in this area, including language structures, language and cognition, and language variation and change, while also presenting future avenues of study by ending each chapter in a description of how language is evolving in online contexts. This new edition includes brand new discussions on

  • social media and the creation of identity;
  • gestural communication;
  • emoji writing;
  • multimodality;
  • and language in the global village.

Discussions are supported by a wealth of pedagogical features, including sidebars, activities and assignments, and a glossary. In this second edition of Language, Society, and New Media, Marcel Danesi demonstrates the dynamic connections between language, society, thought, and culture, and how they continue to evolve in today’s rapidly changing digital world. It is ideal for students in introductory courses in sociolinguistics, language and culture, and linguistic anthropology.


"Marcel Danesi again demonstrates his remarkable ability to integrate the basic tenets of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology into lucid prose. He has enhanced this completely revised second edition by including the burgeoning research in technology, social media, and neuroscience to illustrate how they affect human communication and interaction in various social networks."

Frank Nuessel, University of Louisville, USA

"The pleasure of reading this book lies precisely in the connections Danesi makes between ancient and contemporary, foreign and familiar cultures, and the excellent examples he provides to make them relevant to the reader."

Prisca Augustyn, Florida Atlantic University, USA

"In the second edition of Language, Society, and New Media,Danesi integrates component parts of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, their histories, relevant research studies, and the scholars throughout history who have influenced the fields. He clearly articulates how language varies, changes, and develops according to social situations and structures. Examples from traditional language groups and contemporary digital dialects make this an excellent resource for anyone who wishes to know more about the relationships between language and culture."

Deborah L. Smith-Shank, The Ohio State University, USA

Table of Contents



Rapid Overview


1. Sociolinguistics

1.1 Language

1.1.1 Features

1.1.2 Acquiring Language

1.2 Sociolinguistics

1.2.1 Historical Roots

1.2.2 Subdivisions

1.2.3 Linguistic Anthropology

1.3 Methodology

1.3.1 Interviews

1.3.2 Fieldwork

1.3.3 Ethnography

1.3.4 Statistics

1.4 Sociolinguistics in Practice

1.4.1 Language Use

1.4.2 Personality

1.4.3 Geographical Variation

1.4.4 Social Variation

1.4.5 Bilingualism

1.4.6 Speech Communities

1.4.7 Sociolinguistics and New Media

2. Language and Society

2.1 Vocabulary

2.1.1 The Lexicon

2.1.2 Groups and Vocabulary

2.1.3 Semantics

2.1.4 Contextualized Meaning

2.2 Figurative Language

2.2.1 Connecting Concepts

2.2.2 Figurative Language and Society

2.3 Grammar

2.3.1 Morphology

2.3.2 Syntax

2.4 Phonology

2.4.1 Phonology and Society

2.4.2 Netlingo

3. Variation in Geographical Space

3.1 Dialects

3.1.1 Dialect Atlases

3.1.2 Pidgins and Creoles

3.1.3 Lingua Francas

3.2 Diglossia, Bilingualism, and Multilingualism

3.2.1 Diglossia

3.2.2 Bilingualism and Multilingualism

3.2.3 Code-Switching

3.3 Languages in Contact

3.3.1 Borrowing

3.3.2 Nativization

3.4 Standard Languages and Literacy

3.4.1 Language Loyalty

3.4.2 Language Planning

3.4.3 Literacy

3.4.4 Twitteracy

4. Variation in Social Space

4.1 Sociolects

4.1.1 Slang

4.1.2 Jargon

4.2 Register

4.2.1 Formality

4.2.3 Politeness

4.2.3 Honorifics

4.3 Style and Genre

4.3.1 Style

4.3.2 Genre

4.4 Social Variables

4.4.1 Class

4.4.2 Race and Ethnicity

4.4.3 Twitterlects

5. Language, Personality, and Identity

5.1 Personality

5.1.1 Age

5.1.2 Bilingualism and Personality

5.2 Identity

5.2.1 Theories

5.2.2 Linguistic Identity

5.3 Names

5.3.1 The Social Functions of Names

5.3.2 Nicknames

5.4 Online Identities

5.4.1 Identity Construction

5.4.2 Twin Identities

6. Conversation and Discourse

6.1 Conversation

6.1.1 Conversation Analysis

6.1.2 Grice’s Maxims

6.1.3 Speech Acts

6.2 Communicative Competence

6.2.1 Modeling Communicative Competence

6.2.2 Speech Functions

6.2.3 Politeness: A Case-in-Point

6.3 Discourse and Dialogue

6.3.1 Discourse

6.3.2 Ritualistic Discourse

6.3.3 Critical Discourse

6.3.4 Dialogue

6.3.5 Online Discourse

6.4 Body Language

6.4.1 Kinesics and Proxemics

6.4.2 Gesture and Gesticulation

6.4.3 Facial Expression

7. Writing and Society

7.1 Writing Systems

7.1.1 Pictography and Alphabets

7.1.2 Writing and Society

7.1.3 Stylometry

7.2 Compressive Writing

7.2.1 Social Implications

7.2.2 Zipf’s Law

7.3 Literacy Practices

7.3.1 Myth and Narrative

7.3.2 New Literacies

7.4 International Writing Systems

7.4.1 Artificial Systems

7.4.2 Emoji Writing

8. Language, Mind, Culture, and Technology

8.1 Classification

8.1.1 The Lexicon

8.1.2 Concepts

8.2 The Whorfian Hypothesis

8.2.1 Language and Thought

8.2.2 Specialized Vocabularies

8.3 Ethnosemantics

8.3.1 Componential Analysis

8.3.2 Schemas

8.4 Cyberspace,

8.4.1 Technologically Blended Cognition

8.4.2 Communal Brain

9. Language, Media, and Social Evolution

9.1 Language in Motion

9.1.1 Evolutionary Tendencies

9.1.2 Language Change and Virtual Communities

9.2 Mediation

9.2.1 Types of Media

9.2.2 Emergence

9.3 Communicative Competence Again

9.3.1 Conversation Analysis Revisited

9.3.2 Social Media

9.4 How to Speak to an Alien

Exercises and Discussions


A: The International Phonetic Alphabet

B: A Brief Lesson in Basic Statistics

C: Koasati Phonemes and Alphabet

D: English Vowels




About the Author

Marcel Danesi is Full Professor of Linguistic Anthropology and Director of the Program in Semiotics and Communication Theory at the University of Toronto, Canada. He has authored numerous books and articles on language in use and on applications of sign theory to language and culture. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Semiotica.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Sociolinguistics