The Sociolinguistics of Language Change

Instructor(s): Sali Tagliamonte

How does language change in time, space and social context? This course will survey the most influential research in Sociolinguistics focusing on theory, analysis and interpretation. Several case studies from different levels of grammar will be used to demonstrate how language change can be usefully studied. We will also consider methodological and statistical modeling techniques used to analyze linguistic change, including the comparative sociolinguistic approach. What questions arise, where can current research be pushed forward and how? Students will develop advanced skills and knowledge in Sociolinguistics. They will learn how speech communities preserve the tracks of linguistic change in variable linguistic patterns and further, how varieties can be located along a trajectory of linguistic change. Everyone will come away with fresh ideas for tackling the analysis and explanation of linguistic change. This is an advanced course. It will begin with a lecture style and develop into a hands-on approach to spotting and analyzing linguistic variation. Students will be expected to bring their computers to class for the hands-on sections.

Students will need to know Sociolinguistic Theory and have had some experience in analyzing language variation and change using quantitative methods.

  1. An introductory level course in Linguistics (covering phonetic, phonology, syntax, semantics and morphology)
  2. A course in Sociolinguistics, Dialectology or Language Variation and Change
  3. Some experience with analyzing language variation and change using quantitative methods.

Course ID:

Tue & Fri 10:30-12:15

Classroom: KOBL 375

Areas of Linguistics:
Sociolinguistics and Anthropological

Sponsored by: