Chapter 10: Language Variation and Change

This chapter explores sociolinguistic variation and how it has been analyzed. We’ll be introduced to the concept of the linguistic variation, we’ll see how to analyze data from a variationist sociolinguistic perspective, and we’ll survey some of the major social factors that correlate with sociolinguistic variation.

When you’ve completed this chapter, you’ll be able to

  • Explain the difference between cross-linguistic and sociolinguistic variation.
  • Define important concepts in sociolinguistics.
  • Recognize linguistic variables in language data.
  • Discuss some of the major findings of variationist sociolinguistics.
  • Interpret basic patterns of quantitative sociolinguistic data from graphs.


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Essentials of Linguistics, 2nd edition Copyright © 2022 by Catherine Anderson; Bronwyn Bjorkman; Derek Denis; Julianne Doner; Margaret Grant; Nathan Sanders; and Ai Taniguchi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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