In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Sociolinguistics

  • Introduction

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Linguistics Sociolinguistics
Christine Mallinson, J. Inscoe, Lydda López Valdez
  • LAST REVIEWED: 15 November 2022
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 November 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0039


Sociolinguistics is the study of the effects of language use within and upon societies, and the reciprocal effects of social organization and social contexts on language use. Linguistics is viewed as its parent discipline; yet, the influence of and contributions from related disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and psychology, are also recognized. In turn, sociolinguistic scholarship has traveled beyond the boundaries of linguistics proper to influence these related fields, and there is the potential for greater future impact as interdisciplinary ties between sociolinguists and scholars from other fields continue to strengthen. Although some scholars have debated whether and to what extent sociolinguistics should incorporate insights from other fields and expand its interdisciplinary influence, it is unquestionable that the study of the relationship between language and society constitutes a vast and complex topic that has, to date, yielded an extensive and multifaceted body of scholarship.

Reference Materials

An array of Journals, Handbooks, Textbooks, and Methodological Guides speaks to sociolinguistic theory and research. In this section, widely read as well as newer journals that publish sociolinguistic research are reviewed, along with several handbooks that have been compiled for scholars both in their early careers and at more advanced levels. Textbooks on sociolinguistics and texts on sociolinguistic research methods also provide an overview of theoretical and research trends in the field. The reference materials in this section represent works that speak specifically to sociolinguistics. Texts from closely related fields, most notably linguistic anthropology, have been omitted, though they may also be highly relevant to a sociolinguistic readership.

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