From Los Angeles to Tokyo, Urban Sociolinguistics is a sociolinguistic study of twelve urban settings around the world. Building on William Labov’s famous New York Study, the authors demonstrate how language use in these areas is changing based on belief systems, behavioural norms, day-to-day rituals and linguistic practices.
All chapters are written by key figures in sociolinguistics and presents the personal stories of individuals using linguistic means to go about their daily communications, in diverse sociolinguistic systems such as:
- extremely large urban conurbations like Cairo, Tokyo, and Mexico City
- smaller settings like Paris and Sydney
less urbanised places such as the Western Netherlands Randstad area and Kohima in India.
Providing new perspectives on crucial themes such as language choice and language contact, code-switching and mixing, language and identity, language policy and planning and social networks, this is key reading for students and researchers in the areas of multilingualism and super-diversity within sociolinguistics, applied linguistics and urban studies.
1. Introduction: Why cities matter for a globalising sociolinguistics
Patrick Heinrich / Dick Smakman
2. Urban sociolinguistics
Part I: The Global South
Introduction to part I
3. Cairo: The linguistic dynamics of a multilingual city
Reem Bassiouney / Mark Muehlhaeusler
4. Mexico City: Homogeneity and superdiversity
Roland Terborg / Virna Velázquez
5. Old variables, new meanings: Resignification of rural speech variants in São Paolo’s Portuguese urban ecology
Livia Oushiro / Maria de Carmen Parafita Couto
6. Dubai: Language in the ethnographic, corporate and mobile city
7. Kohima: Language variation and change in a small but diverse city in India
Part II: The Global North
Introduction to part II
8. The language of London and Londoners
Susan Fox / Devyani Sharma
9. Tokyo: Standardization, ludic language use and emerging superdiversity
Patrick Heinrich / Rika Yamashita
10. The city as a result of experiences: Paris and its nearby suburbs
11. The Randstad area in the Netherlands: Emergent and fluid identity-locality production through language in use
Leonie Cornips / Vincent de Rooij / Dick Smakman
12. Notes on the language ecology of the City of Angels: Los Angeles, California, 1965–2015
Reynaldo F. Marcías / Arturo Díaz / Ameer Drane
13. Sydney’s intersecting worlds of languages and things
Emi Otsuji / Alastair Pennycook
14. Moscow: Diversity in disguise
Kapitolina Federova / Vlada Baranova
In place of conclusions: A proposal for street use surveys
"A first-rate collection of empirically based, theoretically informed essays on sociolinguistic diversity in the major cities of the world. In merging foundational urban sociolinguistics with more recent developments that stress superdiverse fluidities, Urban Sociolinguistics is a sophisticated and important advance in the field." – Rajend Mesthrie, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
"A genuinely novel approach for modern sociolinguistics. More than half the world’s population now lives in cities – this radical change poses a number of questions for sociolinguists. Urban Sociolinguistics holds out a multitude of possibilities for researchers at any stage in their career." – Miriam Meyerhoff, University of Wellington, New Zealand.
"This volume is beneficial to both theoretical and applied linguists due to the versatility of the approaches used when studying languages in urban ecologies." - Teresa Wai See Ong, LINGUIST List, January 2020