This intermediate-level course provides a foundation for students who are interested in the scholarly research of language in social contexts, as well as for those keen to reflect on their own social world. The course will trace the development of sociolinguistics as an academic discipline, from traditional variationist studies to more modern ethnographically-inspired approaches. It draws on cross-disciplinary research from linguistics, sociology, social psychology, linguistic anthropology, linguistic ethnography, and historical sociolinguistics. Prior knowledge of linguistics and/or sociolinguistics is preferable but not obligatory. Students with little linguistic or sociolinguistic knowledge are strongly encouraged to read the recommended textbook in addition to the course material provided on Moodle.
-Variationist approaches to language in society
-Language and gender
-Language policy and planning
-Invented languages (“conlangs”)
-Pragmatics and intercultural communication
-English in its international contexts
-English in Hong Kong
The goals of this course are three-fold. First, students will be introduced to the fundamentals of sociolinguistics (key terms, major concepts and sociolinguistic methodology), enabling them to understand the perspective and development of the discipline. Second, students will be trained to analyse sociolinguistic studies and engage in critical thinking about the process of scholarly research. Third, students are encouraged to explore the connections between the discipline and their world, and build awareness of power and discrimination issues related to language use globally as well as in the Hong Kong context.
100% coursework, comprising:
Mid-term paper (25%)
Group and/or individual presentations (25%)
Final term paper (50%)
Holmes, J. and Wilson, N. (2017) An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (fifth edition). Oxford: Routledge
Other course material will be available electronically via Moodle or in the library. Suggested readings will also be announced throughout the term.