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Penelope Eckert. High school ethnography

Penelope Eckert is a professor of linguistics at Stanford University in Stanford, California. She is a prominent scholar of variationist sociolinguistics, and is the author of several scholarly works on language and gender. Continue reading

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Sociolinguistics and translation

For some scientists the bond between Sociolinguistics and translation is indeed «a very natural one, since Sociolinguistics deals primarily with language as it is used by society in communicating» and that the «different ways in which societies employ language in interpersonal relations are crucial for anyone concerned with translating» (Nida). Continue reading

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Methods for studying variation and change

The usual method adopted to satisfy the need for natural, spontaneous speech and many tokens is the sociolinguistic interview. The classic interview involves several hours of speech from every speaker. The interviewer tries to encourage casual speech by discussing topics such as childhood reminiscences and games, and personal anecdotes of dangerous, spiritual, or supernatural experiences the speaker may have had. With luck, during an extended interview the interviewee will also speak to someone other than an interviewer for a while; this is assumed to capture even more naturalistic speech. Continue reading

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Contact in Sociolinguistics

Contact is a significant concept in sociolinguistics — social contact and language contact. Language change spreads through networks of people who talk to one another. Tight-knit groups that keep to themselves do not tend to promote change. Networks whose members also belong to other networks tend to promote change. People can be neighbours and not participate in the same network. In America blacks and whites often lived on the same piece of land; blacks worked in the homes of whites. The physical distance was minimal, but the great social distance led to different varieties of American English. Continue reading

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Changes in the sociolinguistic situation of RP

According to an often cited statistic there are only 3% of RP speakers in Britain. This minority accent is rather unusual and unique from a sociolinguistic point of view. One of the most interesting things about RP is that it is a totally non-regional accent. This peculiarity must be due to a certain set of sociolinguistic preconditions, Continue reading

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Current Perspectives on Sociolinguistics and a Foreign Language Education

Sociolinguistics is one of the most far-reaching subdisciplines of linguistics, which interacts with many other disciplines, including foreign language education.

The basic theoretical features of sociolinguistics and the context of its practice lend foreign language education its rich social content. The application of sociolinguistics in a classroom context can contribute enormously to the development of foreign language teaching techniques.  It is essential to see Continue reading

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