Why does human language vary from one person, or one group, to another? In what ways does it vary? How do linguists go about studying variation in, say, the sound system or the sentence structure of a particular language? Why is the study of language variation important outside the academic world, in say education, the law, employment or housing? This book provides an overview of these questions, bringing together a team of experts to survey key areas within the study of language variation and language change. Covering both the range of methods used to research variation in language, and the applications of such research to a variety of social contexts, it is essential reading for advanced students and researchers in sociolinguistics, communication, linguistic anthropology and applied linguistics.
Robert Bayley is Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Davis. Ceil Lucas is Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Gallaudet University.
Introduction Robert Bayley and Ceil Lucas; Part I. Theories: 1. Variation and phonological theory Gregory R. Guy; 2. Variation and syntactic theory Lisa Green; 3. The psycholinguistic unity of inherent variability: old Occam whips out his razor Ralph W. Fasold and Dennis R. Preston; 4. The study of variation in historical perspective Kirk Hazen; 5. Style in dialogue: Bakhtin and sociolinguistic theory Allan Bell; 6. Variation and historical linguistics Michael Montgomery; 7. Second language acquisition: a variationist perspective Robert Bayley; 8. Variation and modality Ceil Lucas; Part II. Methods: 9. Fieldwork Natalie Schilling-Estes; 10. Quantitative analysis Sali A. Tagliamonte; 11. Sociophonetics Erik R. Thomas; Part III. Applications: 12. Sociolinguistic variation and education Carolyn Temple Adger and Donna Christian; 13. Lessons learned from the Ebonics controversy: implications for language assessment Anna F. Vaughn-Cooke; 14. Variation and versatility in the classroom: contrastive analysis revisited Angela E. Rickford and John R. Rickford; 15. Social-political influences on research practices: examining language acquisition by African American children Ida J. Stockman; 16. Sociolinguistic variation and the law Ronald R. Butters; 17. Attitudes towards variation and ear-witness testimony John Baugh; Afterword Roger W. Shuy.