1st Edition

The Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader

ISBN 9780415469562
Published July 26, 2010 by Routledge
584 Pages 151 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Both a companion to Introducing Sociolinguistics, Miriam Meyerhoff’s bestselling textbook, and a stand-alone Reader in sociolinguistics, this collection includes classic foundational readings and more recent innovative articles.

Intended to be highly user-friendly, The Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader includes substantial section introductions, further reading, a reader’s guide on how to use the book and an introductory chapter providing advice on how to undertake qualitative and quantitative research. This introduction is supplemented by exercises focussing on data handling and collection.

The Reader is divided into six sections and each section is thematically organised. Each reading is accessible to beginning students of sociolinguistics but the entire selection is assembled to also help advanced students focus on themes, principles and concepts that cut across different researchers' work. Beginning and advanced students are supported by Content Questions to assist understanding of essential features in the readings, and Concept Questions which help advanced students make connections across readings, apply theory to data, and critically engage with the readings. A companion website supports and connects the Reader and textbook with structured exercises, links to associated websites and video examples, plus an online glossary.

The Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader is essential reading for students on courses in sociolinguistics, language and society, and language and variation.

Authors: Allan Bell, Jennifer Hay, Stefanie Jannedy, Norma Mendoza-Denton, Qing Zhang, John Laver, Sachiko Ide, Dennis R. Preston, Thomas Purnell, William Idsardi, John Baugh, Gibson Ferguson, Isabelle Buchstaller, Jinny K. Choi, Don Kulick, Christopher Stroud, Jan-Peter Blom, John J. Gumperz, David Britain, Monica Heller, Ben Rampton, Miriam Meyerhoff, Nancy Niedzielski, William Labov, Rika Ito, Sali Tagliamonte, Gillian Sankoff, Hélène Blondeau, Peter Trudgill, Richard Cameron, Lesley Milroy, James Milroy, Paul Kerswill, Ann Williams, Terttu Nevalainen, Penelope Eckert, Janet Holmes, Stephanie Schnurr, Niloofar Haeri, Elinor Ochs, Scott Fabius Kiesling, Rusty Barrett

Go to www.routledge.com/textbooks/meyerhoff for online resources supporting The Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader and Introducing Sociolinguistics (Meyerhoff 2011)

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

User’s guide to The Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader



  1. Erik Schleef and Miriam Meyerhoff
  2. Sociolinguistic methods for data collection and interpretation

    Part one: Identities, style and politeness

    Editors’ introduction to part one

  3. Allan Bell
  4. Back in style: Reworking audience design

  5. Jennifer Hay, Stefanie Jannedy, and Norma Mendoza-Denton
  6. Oprah and /ay/: Lexical frequency, referee design, and style

  7. Qing Zhang
  8. A Chinese yuppie in Beijing: Phonological variation and the construction of a new professional identity

  9. John Laver
  10. Linguistic routines and politeness in greeting and parting

  11. Sachiko Ide
  12. Formal forms and discernment: Two neglected aspects of universals of linguistic politeness

    Part two: Perceptions and language attitudes

    Editors’ introduction to part two

  13. Dennis R. Preston
  14. Language with an attitude

  15. Dennis R. Preston
  16. The Li’l Abner syndrome: Written representations of speech

  17. Thomas Purnell, William Idsardi, and John Baugh
  18. Perceptual and phonetic experiments on American English dialect identification

  19. Gibson Ferguson
  20. Language education policy and the medium of instruction issue in post-colonial Africa

  21. Isabelle Buchstaller
  22. Social stereotypes, personality traits and regional perceptions displaced: Attitudes towards the ‘new’ quotative in the U.K.

    Part three: Multilingualism and language contact

    Editors’ introduction to part three

  23. Jinny K. Choi
  24. Bilingualism in Paraguay: Forty years after Rubin’s study

  25. Don Kulick and Christopher Stroud
  26. Code-switching in Gapun: Social and linguistic aspects of language use in a language shifting community

  27. Jan-Peter Blom and John J. Gumperz
  28. Social meaning in linguistic structure: Code-switching in Norway

  29. David Britain
  30. Dialect contact, focusing and phonological rule complexity: The koineisation of Fenland English

  31. Monica Heller
  32. Legitimate language in a multilingual school

  33. Ben Rampton
  34. Language crossing and the redefinition of reality

  35. Miriam Meyerhoff and Nancy Niedzielski
  36. The Globalisation of Vernacular Variation

    Part four: Variation and change

    Editors’ introduction to part four

  37. William Labov
  38. The social motivation of a sound change

  39. Rika Ito and Sali Tagliamonte
  40. Well weird, right dodgy, very strange, really cool: Layering and recycling in English intensifiers

  41. Gillian Sankoff and Hélène Blondeau
  42. Language change across the lifespan: /r/ in Montreal French

  43. Peter Trudgill
  44. Norwich revisited: Recent linguistic changes in an English urban dialect

  45. Richard Cameron
  46. Aging and Gendering

    Part five: Social class, networks and communities of practice

    Editors’ introduction to part five

  47. Lesley Milroy and James Milroy
  48. Social network and social class: Toward an integrated sociolinguistic model

  49. Paul Kerswill and Ann Williams
  50. Mobility versus social class in dialect levelling: Evidence from new and old towns in England

  51. Terttu Nevalainen
  52. Making the best of ‘bad’ data: Evidence for sociolinguistic variation in early modern English

  53. Penelope Eckert
  54. Vowels and nail polish: The emergence of linguistic style in the preadolescent heterosexual marketplace

  55. Janet Holmes and Stephanie Schnurr
  56. ‘Doing femininity’ at work: More than just relational practice

    Part six: Gender

    Editors’ introduction to part six

  57. Niloofar Haeri
  58. A linguistic innovation of women in Cairo

  59. Elinor Ochs
  60. Indexing gender

  61. Scott Fabius Kiesling
  62. Power and the language of men

  63. Rusty Barrett

Markedness and styleswitching in performances by African American drag queens

Notes on concept questions


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Miriam Meyerhoff is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Her work investigates language variation and the interplay between language and social identities, using qualitative and quantitative methods. She is author of Introducing Sociolinguistics, and co-editor of the Handbook of Language and Gender, as well as Social Lives in Language and the Creole Language Library.

Erik Schleef is Lecturer in English Sociolinguistics in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at the University of Manchester, UK. His research interests include language variation and change, language and gender and language acquisition in immigrant contexts. He has lived and taught in the US, the UK, Germany, and Switzerland.


"An outstanding resource for students and scholars of sociolinguistics at all levels. The introductory chapter on methods provides a great entrance into the field and the reader covers a generally excellent range of core readings in sociolinguistics. In addition the editors have integrated those readings with helpful exercises and discussion questions that will benefit students and instructors alike."

Robin Queen, University of Michigan, USA

"The Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader stands out with its focus on practice. Students will love the hands-on nature of this Reader!"

Ingrid Piller, Macquarie University, Australia

"A very useful collection, due to the care in selection both in terms of quality and the wide range of approaches. I especially like the focus on multilingualism (more than a third of the articles report on languages other than English, for anyone keeping score), both in the choice of topics and in the attention given to the interests and needs of multilingual students."

Naomi Nagy, University of Toronto, Canada

"This is the kind of interactive, varied course material that both students and teachers dream about."

- Dr. Catharina Peersman, Department of Linguistics, K.U. Leuven, Belgium

'... offers a true introductory manual of sociolinguistic studies to students and teachers alike... this is the kind of interactive, varied course material that both students and teachers dream about. There is no doubt about the excellent qualities of 'The Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader'. When combined with Meyerhoff's 'Introducing Sociolinguistics' and the online resources, this versatile manual is a very practical resource that would help create a varied and enjoyable sociolinguistics course.' - LinguistList