Naomi Nagy

Linguistics at U of T

LIN 251: Intro to Sociolinguistics

Course description

How does linguistic variation construct identity?

You will be introduced to recent sociolinguistic research on language contact, multilingualism, code-switching, expressions of ethnic solidarity and regional identity, sex and gender differentiation, dialect geography, sociophonetics, perceptual dialectology, diffusion of norms in mobile populations, documentation of variation in lesser studied languages, and changes across the life-span.

Goals for the course

  • Understand the shape of sociolinguistic research today: its goals, concepts and terminology.
  • Design and conduct sociolinguistic research in both macro- and micro-sociolinguistic areas, following the social science paradigm of hypothesis development and testing through empirical data.
  • Take opportunities to reflect on and discuss your own sociolinguistic situation – the profusion of languages and voices which are part of your life.
  • Consider the universality of sociolinguistic principles and the extent to which they apply cross-linguistically, by considering research from multiple languages and communities.
  • Read, consider and discuss how language affects and constitutes society, in particular where that produces inequity.
  • Learn to observe, question, and integrate information from different sources (multiple readings, lecture, your own experiences) to test generalizations about how language and society connect.
  • Develop writing styles, empirical techniques and skills specialized to sociolinguistic research norms.
adapted from the course textbook (Bell 2014:15)

Syllabus & assignments for the current semester | Course requirements


Updated December 20, 2017.

email: naomi dot nagy at utoronto dot ca | Return to my home page