Research topic: Sociolinguistics

The research area known as sociolinguistics studies the relationship between language and society.

An important objective for researchers into sociolinguistics is to record, explain and understand linguistic variations and diversity in communities that differ socially and geographically.

Sociolinguists are interested in how we use language to signal our social background, our sense of inclusion or distance, or our sense of power or powerlessness.

Variation is a key concept within sociolinguistics. This concept is vital for understanding and explaining linguistic changes – both those made by individuals, those occurring between individuals and those occurring between groups.

By studying the language usage of older and younger language users we can obtain knowledge, among other things, about the linguistic evolution  taking place in a particular place or environment.

One example of such linguistic evolution is the convergence in Norwegian between the sounds  "kj" (as in Kjell) and "sj" (as in skjell). This is a change that is taking place in many of the larger towns throughout Norway.

Sociolinguists are also concerned with how people speak to each other, how we create meaning and how we become socialised through the use of language.

The field of interactive sociolinguistics studies how people vary their manner of speech depending on whom they are talking to, what they are talking about or the situations they find themselves in. The language we use shows whom we identify ourselves with and how we wish to be perceived.


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Published Feb. 8, 2013 1:22 PM - Last modified Nov. 8, 2018 9:58 AM