Chapter 13: SoCiolinguiStiCS
At 450 pages, Wardhaugh (2010) – or indeed any of his five earlier editions – will give
the novice sociolinguist a really comprehensive overview of the field. It has chapters
covering: languages, dialects and varieties; pidgins and creoles; codes; speech communi-
ties; language variation; language change; words and culture; ethnographies; solidarity
and politeness; talk and action; gender; disadvantage; and language planning.
After textbooks, to extend any (general) reading the next best step is edited collections
(or readers). Two particularly excellent readers are edited by Coupland and Jaworski (1997,
2009). Their first edition has 37 papers, the new edition has 47. Although there is a lot of
overlap between the two volumes, eight of the papers in the first edition are not in the
second and so it is certainly worth accessing the 1997 edition in addition to the 2009
edition. Another comprehensive set of readings is The Handbook of Sociolinguistics edited by
Coulmas (1997). Finally, although it is old, an absolute classic is the edited collection put
together by Giglioli (1972).
For specific themes, the following are the go-to volumes: Social Networks: Milroy
(1980, 1987); Ethnography: Hymes (1974) and Saville-Troike (1982, 1989, 2002);
Variationist Sociolinguistics: Labov (1972, 1994, 2001, 2010); Accommodation Theory:
Giles and St Clair (1979); Style: Eckert and Rickford (2001); Acts of Identity: Le Page and
Tabouret-Keller (1985) (reproduced in part in ➔ R3.1).
Finally, if your library is fortunate enough to own a set, then the six volume collection
of 98 papers edited by Coupland and Jaworski (2008) would certainly be worth accessing.