Sociolinguistic Variation and Change

cover art
208 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878403691 (0878403698)

December 2001
LC: 2001051285
Sales Rights: Only for sale in U.S. and Canada


Table of Contents

Sociolinguistic Variation and Change
Peter Trudgill

This selection of Peter Trudgill's major works since 1988, appearing here in updated and revised form, reveals major recurring themes in his work on linguistic diversity. This book evinces his deep concern that the world's linguistic diversity is diminishing at an alarming rate. The linguistic future is likely to be very different from the past, because increased language contact among peoples will result in the creation of fewer new languages to balance the language deaths. The essays here manifest Trudgill's conviction that linguists must make every effort to study minority languages and dialects before they vanish. The book also demonstrates his sense of the obligation that linguists have to educate the public about why linguistic diversity is valuable.

The book deals with a number of specific but related topics. One area is the role of English in the world, and the nature of Standard English or Englishes. Another is language as a human issue, reflecting the author's concern that the results of sociolinguistic research should be made available to assist, wherever possible, with the solution of educational and other real-world problems. A third focus is on the problematic and interconnected relationships among nation and language and dialect, but, unlike the work of most other writers in this field, this book looks closely at the linguistic characteristics of the varieties concerned. The final major emphasis is on sociohistorical linguistics: in particular, the relationship between colonial and motherland varieties of English; dialect contact and language contact; and the sociolinguistically informed dialectology of linguistic theory, linguistic description, and the applications of linguistics. The major overall unifying theme of the book is linguistic variation and, as the diachronic outcome of linguistic variation, linguistic change.

Peter Trudgill is professor of English linguistics at the bilingual University of Fribourg in Switzerland. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and has an Honorary Doctorate from Uppsala University.
"Another landmark in Trudgill's formative and continual influence on the field of sociolinguistics. It displays the amazing breadth and depth of Trudgill's understanding of both the processes and the outcomes of language change and variation. No one does it better!"—Walt Wolfram, North Carolina State University

"An illuminating and authoritative statement, up to date in its coverage and wide ranging in its treatment, but above all conveying the profound concern for sociolinguistic issues and outcomes that is Peter Trudgill's trademark."—David Crystal, University of Wales

Table of Contents
I. Sociohistorical Linguistics
Introduction: Sociohistorical linguistics

1. British vernacular dialects in the formation of American English: the case of East Anglian do
2. Short 'o' in East Anglia and New England
3. Sociohistorical linguistics and dialect survival: a note on another Nova Scotian enclave

II. Dialect Change
Introduction: Dialect Change

4. Two hundred years of dedialectalisation: the East Anglian short vowel system
5. New-dialect formation and dedialectisation: embryonic and vestigial variants
6. Norwich revisited: recent linguistic changes in an English urban dialect

III. Language Contact
Introduction: Language Contact

7. Dual-source pidgins and reverse creoloids: northern perspectives on language contact
8. Language contact and the function of linguistic gender
9. Third-person singular zero: African American vernacular English, East Anglian dialects and Spanish persecution in the Low Countries
10. Language Contact and inherent variability: the absence of hypercorrection in East Anglian present-tense verb forms

IV. Language creation and language death Introduction: Language creation and language death

11. Ausbau sociolinguistics and the perception of language status in contemporary Europe
12. Ausbau sociolinguistics and identity in modern Greece
13. Language maintenance and language shift: preservation versus extinction

V. Englishes
Introduction: Englishes

14. English as an endangered language
15. Standard English: what it isn't
16. The sociolinguistics of modern RP