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Sociolinguistics

by Florian Coulmas

In 28 newly-commissioned chapters, distinguished contributors provide an up-to-date overview of sociolinguistics. This invaluable work of reference, now available in paperback, identifies the most important issues of sociolinguistics, makes primary sources more accessible, and provides orientation for future research. Reflecting the main division within the discipline, the two key sections deal with the social dimensions of language and the linguistic dimensions of society. In addition, there is an introductory section taking issue with the theoretical and methodological foundations of sociolinguistic knowledge which have proved to be especially fruitful in recent years: education, bilingual education, the legal profession and language planning. The Handbook is equipped with a comprehensive bibliography which can be used as a research tool in its own right.

Writing and Society

by Florian Coulmas

How does writing relate to speech? What impact does it have on social organisation and development? How do unwritten languages differ from those that have a written form and tradition? This book is a general account of the place of writing in society. Drawing on contemporary and historical examples, from clay tablets to touchscreen displays, the book explores the functions of writing and written language, analysing its consequences for language, society, economy and politics. It examines the social causes of illiteracy, demonstrating that institutions of central importance to modern society are built upon writing and written texts, and are characterised by specific forms of communication. It explores the social dimensions of spelling and writing reform, as well as of digital literacy, a new mode of expression and communication posing novel challenges to the student of language in society.

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