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Language in Society: An Introduction to Sociolinguistics Hardcover – 20 Jan 1994

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (20 Jan 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198751338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198751335
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,087,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Overall Romaine's work is a very thorough introduction to the study of sociolinguistics. Greg Watson, Language and Literature, Journal of the Poetics and Linguistics Association --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Professor Suzanne Romaine is Merton Professor of English Language at the University of Oxford and author of a number of books. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
I NOTED in my Preface how prevailing trends in linguistics have marginalized the study of the social role of language. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Feb 2002
Format: Paperback
I find Suzanne Romaine's writing very engaging, and enjoy her pull-no-punches, tell-it-like-it-is approach to her subject. I have used her book as a supplement to my general introductory linguistics text, because that text tends to skirt around such issues in sociolinguistics which Romaine specifically adresses, i.e. the political dimension. Women, minorities, and other people 'dispossessed' by the language which surrounds them every day inform this book's pages and are given full exposure.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A good introduction 25 Jan 2001
By H. Chen-Cheng - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a concise book on sociolinguistics. It does not dwell excessively on methodology or theoretical perspectives but offers through many examples, some presented via tables and figures, a taste of the kinds of issues sociolinguists struggle with, as well as some of their major findings. As a specialist in the Papua New Ginean languages, Romaine naturally makes good use of non-Western examples like Tok Pisin to illustrate such problems as language/dialect, language contact, language hierarchy, though she also draws examples from the Scandanavian languages as well as research on the social dialects of English. The book is highly readable even to a non-linguist like me. It probably does not cover all the conceivable major topics, but what it covers it covers well. The annotated bibliography at the end of each chapter is a useful guide to further reading.
My only complaint regards her non-critical citation of the much-repeated "fact" (to illustrate the language/dialect problem) that speakers of mutually unintelligible Chinese languages share a common writing system. This of course is true only for the classical literary (written) language, not the vernacular varieties.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A good Introduction 24 Jun 2005
By T. Hooper - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Suzanne Romaine takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of the field of sociolinguistics. The role of society in language use is examined from many different angles. Since this is an introductory book, it doesn't go into each subfield very deeply, but it does give you a broad overview of what we study in this field. I thought that the author paid particular attention to the issues of pidgins and creoles, and gender issues in language use. This would be useful for beginners in sociolinguistics and for those interested in the two specializations mentioned above.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A good introduction to socio-linguistics. 20 Mar 2005
By Kazuma - Published on
Format: Paperback
What is sociolinguistics? What does it aim to do? and in What respects does it diverge from other theoretical linguistic approaches?-if you have questions like these, there is every reason why you should buy and read this book. This inspiring introduction to a relatively new field of linguistics explains clearly and in a plain style why that field was born, what ends it can serve and what attitudes it takes toward lanaguge science; insomuch that those who has just started to take interest in the field of linguistics have no difficulty understanding it; but, on the contrary, can enjoy reading it.

Whether you can agree with the author's ideas, whether you find her arguments satisfying, I know not; but one thing is certain: regardless of whether you are for or againts this book's assertions, reading this book can never be a waste of time.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Read this before any other book on Sociolinguistics 25 July 2000
By Michael J. Tyson - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the book you should read first if you have even a slight interest in Sociolinguistics, the branch of linguistics dealing with how society uses language. My particular area of interest is code-switching (when a person switches from one language to another within an exchange, i.e. "Have agua, please?") and I read Dr. Romaine's book to prepare me for a volume particulary about code-switching. Thanks to Dr. Romaine for a great read.
Informative, but dull 23 Nov 2012
By ello - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book for a graduate school class on sociolinguistics. I do not have a background on linguistics, so reading this with little knowledge and experience was challenging. There is a heavy emphasis on particular location's linguistics, and Romaine's writing on gender was very interesting. It contains a lot of information, but it will be quite an experience for a reader who is new to linguistics.
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