1st Edition

Urban Sociolinguistics The City as a Linguistic Process and Experience

Edited By Dick Smakman, Patrick Heinrich Copyright 2018
    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    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

    Florian Coulmas

    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

    Ingrid Piller

    7. Kohima: Language variation and change in a small but diverse city in India

    Shobha Satyanath

    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

    Christine Deprez

    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


    Dick Smakman is Lecturer at Leiden University, The Netherlands. He has taught courses in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics at universities in the Netherlands, England, Poland and Japan.

    Patrick Heinrich is Associate Professor at the Department of Asian and Mediterranean African Studies at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, Italy.

    Together, they are the co-editors of Globalising Sociolinguistics (2015).

    "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