Blogging, Linguae, Reblog

Great ideas in linguistics: Sociolinguistics

How linguistics has to do with everyday life? When I started studying sociolinguistics at the university I did not know what was the point of studying what sounds we do when we talk; then the professor gave us lectures on contemporary italian sociolinguistics, and every little speaking quirk I had been observing in social context went under a different light, a new marvellous light, and I haven’t stopped wondering ever since.

I’ll be the first to admit: for a long time, even after I’d begun my linguistics training, I didn’t really understand what sociolinguistics was. I had the idea that it mainly had to do with discourse analysis, which is certainly a fascinating area of study, but I wasn’t sure it would weighty enough to serve as the basis for a major discipline of linguistics. Fortunately, I’ve learned a great deal about sociolinguistics since that time.

Sociolinguistics is the sub-field of linguistics that studies language in its social context and derives explanatory principles from it. By knowing about the language, we can learn something about a social reality and vice versa.

Now, at first glance this may seem so intuitive that it’s odd someone would to the trouble of stating it directly. As social beings, we know that the behaviour of people around us is informed by their identities and affiliations…

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