Introducing Sociolinguistics

Second Edition

ORCID logoRajend Mesthrie | University of Cape Town
Joan Swann | Centre for Language and Communication, Open University
ORCID logoAna Deumert | University of Cape Town
William L. Leap | American University
ISBN 9789027232656 | USD 34.95


Sociolinguistics is one of the central branches of modern linguistics and deals with the place of language in human societies. This second edition of Introducing Sociolinguistics expertly synthesises the main approaches to the subject. The book covers areas such as multilingualism, code-choice, language variation, dialectology, interactional studies, gender, language contact, language and inequality, and language and power. At the same time it provides an integrated perspective on these themes by examining sociological theories of human interaction. In this regard power and inequality are particularly significant. The book also contains two chapters on the applications of sociolinguistics (in education and in language policy and planning) and a concluding chapter on the sociolinguistics of sign language. New topics covered include speaking style and stylisation, while current debates in areas like creolisation, globalisation and language death, language planning, and gender are reflected.

Written collaboratively by teachers and scholars with first hand experience of sociolinguistic developments on four continents, this book provides the broadest introduction currently available to the central topics in sociolinguistics.

Key Features

  • Provides a solid foundation in all aspects of sociolinguistics and explores important themes such as power and inequality, sign language, gender and the internet
  • Well illustrated with maps, diagrams, inset boxes, drawings and cartoons
  • Accessibly written with the beginner in mind
  • Uses numerous examples from multilingual settings
  • Explains basic concepts, supported by a glossary
  • Further Reading lists, a full bibliography, and a section on 'next steps' provide valuable guidance.

Rajend Mesthrie is Professor of Linguistics in the English Department at the University of Cape Town.

Joan Swann is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Language and Communication in the School of Education at the Open University, UK.

Ana Deumert is Associate Professor in the Linguistics Section, Department of English, University of Cape Town.

William Leap is Professor of Anthropology at the American University, Washington DC.

[Not in series, 102]  2009.  xxvi, 502 pp.
Publishing status: Available | Original publisher: Distributed
Table of Contents
Subjects & Metadata
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2009017912