Lecture course for postgraduate students (General Linguistics Department)

Instructor: Chizhova Larisa A.

What is sociolinguistics?  Sociolinguistics is the study of language in relation to society, linguistic behavior in any community.


What kind of questions?

May language be a social marker of separate identity?

How do individuals and social groups define themselves in and through language?

How is language involved in social conflicts and tensions?

What are the implications of qualitative and quantitative methods of linguistic research?

What are differences in male and female language use?

What are rules of interaction and norms of interpretation?

Have we any problems in our language politics?

What is dominant language, minority language? What will be in future?

And many others…


Course description. Contents

1). Sociolinguistics compares:

–        Sociology, linguistics, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, cognitive linguistics

–        dialect geography

–        anthropology and sociology

–        philosophy of language

–        linguistic pragmatics and discourse analysis

–        cultural studies


2). Saussure and studies in Sociolinguistics

Langue and parole: the language as a system, and parole — language in use

Ignoring the fundamentally social and behavioral nature of language

Language as an abstraction without variation by speaker, region or time

Language as a non-cultural, non-social, static, depersonalized fact independent of context and discourse


3). Conversation analysis. Functionalist linguistics

4). List of basic concepts

Language code, codeswitching

Bilingualism, diglossia

Language mode, language style

Native language, mother tongue, second language. T

State language, titular language. World language, language of international communication. Regional, local language.

Koine, lingua Franca, pidgin. Creole languages

Social roles

Dialect, slang, argot


5). Class and style

6). Prestige. Politeness

7). Language and Gender

8) Language and Power

9). Language and Culture


Study materials:

Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Second edition. By Keith Brown. Elsevier Science. V1-14.  2005.

Encyclopedia of Sociology. Second edition. Vol. 1-5. Edgar F. Borgatta, Editor-in-Chief, University of Washington, Seattle, Rhonda J. V. Montgomery, Managing Editor, University of Kansas, Lawrence. Macmillan Reference USA. New York. 2000.

Halliday, M.A.K. Language as a social semiotic. The social interpretation of language and meaning. – Baltimore, 1978.

Labov, W. Principles of Linguistic Change. Cognitive and Cultural Factors. A John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Publication. 2010.

Tannen, D. Gender and Conversational Interaction, New York and Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press. 1993.

The Linguistics Encyclopedia. Second edition. Edied by Kirsten Malmkjaer. London and New York.

Белл Р. Социолингвистика. Цели, методы и проблемы. М.: Междунар. отнош., 1980.

Новое в лингвистике. Вып. 7. Социолингвистика. – М., 1975.

Словарь социолингвистических терминов. М., 2006.

Швейцер А.Д., Никольский Л.Б. Введение в социолингвистику. – М., 1978.



Noam Chomsky - The history of linguistics in the 20th century ( )

Michael Halliday — Language evolving: Some systemic functional reflections on the history of meaning (