In this introductory course to sociolinguistics, we address some fundamental topics in the positioning of language in human societies. We not only examine theories and issues, but also explore methods in conducting sociolinguistic research. Our investigation draws richly from both English as well as multilingual and non-English scenarios, critically examining classic sociolinguistic accounts from a contemporary perspective, and ultimately building a solid and comprehensive understanding of the workings of language and communication in society.
Topics covered include:
- Language variation and change and its development as a topic of study
- Stylistic variation (how individuals vary how they speak)
- Language and gender
- Language choice and multilingualism (code-switching)
- Pidgins and creoles
- Language policy and planning
- Forensic linguistics
- Global Englishes
- Language on-screen
This course aims to:
- introduce students to some fundamental topics in the positioning of language in human societies
- examine both theories and issues, and explore methods and practices
- critically examine classic accounts, and add a contemporary, multilingual perspective
- Lectures (2 hours a week) will introduce fundamental concepts and frameworks, including methods for engaging in fieldwork, and raise and discuss issues and debates in the field.
- Tutorials (1 hour) will provide opportunities for students to engage in exercises, examine case studies and engage in reflection & discussion.
Final essay or research project: 50%
In-class test: 40%
Tutorial contribution and participation: 10%
Students should purchase the course textbook*:
Holmes, Janet and Nick Wilson (2017) An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Routledge: London.
*NB. The textbook can be purchased at a discounted price in HKU campus bookstores.
Other readings and texts will also be made available on the Moodle platform throughout the term.