The Written Questionnaire in Social Dialectology

History, theory, practice

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Methods of linguistic data collection are among the most central aspects in empirical linguistics. While written questionnaires have only played a minor role in the field of social dialectology, the study of regional and social variation, the last decade has seen a methodological revival. This book is the first monograph-length account on written questionnaires in more than 60 years. It reconnects – for the newcomer and the more seasoned empirical linguist alike – the older questionnaire tradition, last given serious treatment in the 1950s, with the more recent instantiations, reincarnations and new developments in an up-to-date, near-comprehensive account. A disciplinary history of the method sets the scene for a discussion of essential theoretical aspects in dialectology and sociolinguistics. The book is rounded off by a step-by-step practical guide – from study idea to data analysis and statistics – that includes hands-on sections on Excel and the statistical suite R for the novice.

This book has a companion website:

[IMPACT: Studies in Language and Society, 40]  2015.  xxvii, 397 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
List of common abbreviations
List of tables
List of figures
List of illustrations
Author’s preface
1. Written Questionnaires in the wider linguistic context
Part I. History & theory
2. A history of written questionnaires in social dialectology
3. A comparison of data collection methodologies
4. Types of traditional WQ variables
5. World Englishes, multilingualism and written questionnaires
6. WQ data and linguistic theory
Part II. Practice
7. Questionnaire design and data collection
8. Working with WQ data
9. Statistical testing with R
10. Epilogue
“This is an important book. Written questionnaires were a vital tool in early dialectological work, and Dollinger shows that they also have an exciting future. These pages clearly explain how questionnaires can be used with subtlety, and how they can tell us things that other methodologies cannot.”
“In Dollinger’s assessment, the WQ has been unduly maligned by dialectologists and sociolinguists, and he argues that it deserves a place in the canon of their data-collection techniques. His case derives from systematic comparisons of the advantages and disadvantages of various methods, and – because his enthusiasm is tempered by an awareness of limitations – his advocacy of WQs is all the more effective. The book is valuable for any researcher interested in WQ methods, although its primary audience seems to be students. While the book does provide fairly sophisticated coverage of a range of important concepts, the discussion assumes little background beyond what one might gain in an introductory linguistics class. Dollinger takes special care to ensure that the technical sections (Chapters 8 and 9) are accessible to readers new to statistics (and to Excel and ‘R’). His book presents a comprehensive examination of the WQ methodology, reviewing its history within the field, arguing for its continued implementation, and providing practical instruction towards that end.”
“The book is valuable for any researcher interested in WQ methods, although its primary audience

seems to be students. While the book does provide fairly sophisticated coverage of a range of important concepts, the discussion assumes little background beyond what one might gain in an introductory linguistics class. Dollinger takes special care to ensure that the technical sections (Chapters 8 and 9) are accessible to readers new to statistics (and to Excel and ‘R’). His book presents a comprehensive examination of the WQ methodology, reviewing its history within the field, arguing for its continued implementation, and providing practical instruction towards that end.”
“Dollinger’s investment (and perhaps passion) in the method of the written questionnaire comes across clearly in this textbook. The early chapters constitute a very clear, yet detailed, account of how this method was developed, has been utilized, and has fallen into a more general disuse within social dialectology. Both established researchers and students will benefit from this carefully laid out history as they consider using questionnaires in their own studies.”
“This book is a great resource for linguistics students interested in the history of written questionnaires, as well as for researchers planning to design their own questionnaires.”
“Dollinger has filled a serious gap in our understanding of linguistic data collection, and has given us practical ways to use written questionnaires. This book provides the best history to date of the use of written questionnaires, and then gives step-by-step instructions how to use them. Well done!”
BIC Subject: CFB – Sociolinguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2015037176
Examination Copy
Cited by

Cited by other publications

2017. take up #9as a semantic isogloss on the Canada-US border. World Englishes 36:1  pp. 80 ff.
Kretzschmar, William A.
2018.  In The Handbook of Dialectology,  pp. 57 ff.

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