Linguistics and English Language.
School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences.
The University of Edinburgh.
Lecturer for SOCIOLINGUISTIC RESEARCH DESIGN (MSc.)
An introduction to research design in variationist sociolinguistics
Sociolinguistics can be defined as the study of language in use. Sociolinguistic research involves describing patterns of language in use and proposing theories to account for those observed patterns, often with recourse to social factors such as the identity of the speaker or the cultural relevance of the speaking context. Descriptive questions include: How do (different) people talk in different contexts, with different addressees, and for different purposes? When do people vary in how they use language, and when do they not vary? Theoretical questions ask why the answers to these questions look the way that they do, attempting to explore why the same sociolinguistic patterns can be seen across different communities and cultures. In short, this course covers research that asks: What motivates speakers to make different linguistic choices? And what communicative and social functions are served by those choices? We focus on answering these questions by bringing particular attention to principles of research design.