Topics


Topics covered include:

• The historical development of sociolinguistics as a discipline
• Sociolinguistic research methods, theories and applications
• Language variation and change
• Language choice and multilingualism (code-switching, translanguaging)
• Language contact, maintenance, shift, birth and death
• Pidgins and creoles
• Linguistic (super-)diversity  
• Language policy and planning
• Language attitudes, voice and social inequalities
• Language and identity
• Englishes and globalisation

 

TOP

Objectives


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 aims and historical development of the discipline. Second, students will be trained to analyse sociolinguistic studies, both old and new, and engage in critical thinking about the process of scholarly research. Students will also be encouraged to explore the connections between the discipline and their world, and build awareness of power and political issues related to language use globally as well as in specific contexts.

 

TOP

Organisation


The course consists of two-hour lectures on Mondays and one-hour tutorials on Thursday. The lectures provide detailed overviews of relevant topics in sociolinguistics. In the tutorials students will be given opportunities to engage with the materials through in-class discussion, presentations and group work and thereby develop their knowledge and understanding of the concepts, theories and approaches we discuss in this course.

 

TOP

Assessment


1) Final essay or research project: 50%
2) In-class assignments and reflection: 40%
3) Tutorial contribution and participation: 10%

 

TOP

Office hours


Please make individual arrangements to see Jaspal and discuss your learning experience, your final essay and clarify any questions you might have.

 

TOP

Syllabus and readings


This course syllabus lists topics and readings for each session, together with information about the deadlines for assessments. For detailed information on assessments, see the “Assessments” document. You are expected to read all core readings listed below in preparation for class. Many core readings can be found in Rajend Mesthrie, Joan Swann, Ana Deumert, and William L. Leap (2013) Introducing Sociolinguistics. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. The book can be purchased in the HKU bookstore or accessed as an ebook or hardcopy via the HKU library. References to further readings will be provided in each session. Students are expected to complete substantial amounts of reading and self-study every week. Students are also expected to actively participate in the lectures and tutorials and reflect on their learning progress.

 

Week 1 Introduction: Studying language variation in society

  • Mesthrie, Rajend (2013) Clearing the ground: Basic issues, concepts and approaches. In: Rajend Mesthrie, Joan Swann, Ana Deumert, and William L. Leap (eds.) Introducing Sociolinguistics. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1–41.

 

Week 2 Regional and social dialectology

  • Mesthrie, Rajend (2013) Regional dialectology & Social dialectology. In Rajend Mesthrie, Joan Swann, Ana Deumert, and William L. Leap (eds.) Introducing Sociolinguistics. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 42–72 & 73–108.

 

Week 3 Variationist research

  • Meyerhoff, Miriam (2011) Language and variation. In: Introducing Sociolinguistics. London: Routledge, 8–26

Submission due: First reflection (500 words, 20%). Please see the detailed description in the “Assessments” document.

 

Week 4 Language contact 1: Language birth, maintenance, shift and death

  • Meyerhoff, Miriam (2011) Language contact. In: Introducing Sociolinguistics. London: Routledge, 238–264

 

Week 5 Language contact 2: Contact varieties

  • Mesthrie, Rajend (2013) Language contact 2: Pidgins, creoles and ‘New Englishes’. In: Rajend Mesthrie, Joan Swann, Ana Deumert, and William L. Leap. Introducing Sociolinguistics. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 271–307.

 

Week 6 Language contact 3: Multilingualism, diglossia, language choice and style

  • Swann, Joan (2013) Language choice and code-switching. In Rajend Mesthrie, Joan Swann, Ana Deumert, and William L. Leap, eds. Introducing Sociolinguistics. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 146–182.

 

Week 7 ***Reading week***
Please use Reading Week to catch up on readings you might have missed and to do your own literature research on topics you are interested in.

 

Week 8 Language planning and policy

  • Deumert, Ana (2013) Language planning and policy. In: Rajend Mesthrie, Joan Swann, Ana Deumert, and William L. Leap. Introducing Sociolinguistics. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 371–406.

Submission due: Second reflection (500 words, 20%). Please see the detailed description in the “Assessments” document.

 

Week 9 Linguistic attitudes and social inequalities

  • Preston, Dennis R. (2010) Language with an attitude. In: Miriam Meyerhoff and Erik Schleef (eds.) The Routledge Sociolinguistics Reader. London: Routledge, 112–131.

 

Week 10 The sociolinguistics of voice

  • Blommaert, Jan (2005) Chapter 4 – Language and inequality. In: Discourse: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 68–97.

 

Week 11 Language and identity

  • Staicov, Adina (2016) San Francisco Chinatown: Transnationalism, identity construction, and heritage language maintenance. In Mi-Cha Flubacher, Catherine Diederich and Philipp Dankel (eds.) Bulletin Vals-Asla 104: 67–85.

 

Week 12 World Englishes

  • Bolton, Kingsley (2000) The sociolinguistics of Hong Kong and the space for Hong Kong English. World Englishes 19(3): 265–285.

 

Week 13 Recap, open discussion and closing

Submission due: Final paper (1500 words, 50%). Please see the detailed description in the “Assessments” document.

 

TOP
 


Last updated: 5 July 2018