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Sociolinguistics: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Kindle Edition]

John Edwards
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sociolinguistics deals with the social life of language, language in its sociocultural context. It is a branch of linguistics that looks less at the shape or sound of words--morphology or phonology--and more at how our words and sentences are influenced by the society around us--for instance, how the accent or the dialect we use has been shaped by where we come from or which social class we belong to.
In this Very Short Introduction, John Edwards offers the most up-to-date brief overview available of sociolinguistics, with side trips into the sociology of language and psycholinguistics. He considers such topics as the different social evaluations of languages and dialects, the loaded significance of names, and the importance of politically-driven language planning and policy. The relationship between language and gender, sexist language, the language of poverty, and the intertwining of language and religion are also dealt with here. Edwards stresses that, while linguists see all dialects as equally valid, in the wider world powerful attitudes have always placed language varieties in social hierarchies. The author also looks at language more broadly, examining the ways in which languages rise or fall, the attempts to revive flagging or endangered varieties, the reasons why some languages came to dominate others, and the special dynamics that affect contact between "big" and "small" languages.
In both its role as our most powerful tool of communication and as the most immediate symbolic marker of human affiliation, language is pre-eminently a social phenomenon. This compact volume offers an invaluable introduction to this vital aspect of language.
About the Series:
Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

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Product Description


"The author's degrees in psychology allow him to effectively examine the intersections between human behavior and language. Although the content of the book is introductory, the scholarly writing style makes it appropriate for advanced students in sociolinguistics courses." -K.C. Williams, Mercyhurst University, CHOICE

About the Author

John Edwards is professor of psychology at St. Francis Xavier University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and editor of the Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2521 KB
  • Print Length: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (11 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #216,548 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good concise overview 16 Aug. 2015
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The idea of the very short introduction books is to provide a concise introduction to the topic covered. I studied linguistics as part of my degree but it's a subject that I've become more interested in as I've got older. I was interested in the relationship between human behaviour and language and this is what this volume explores. Edwards has a degree in psychology and is Professor of Psychology at St. Francis Xavier University, in Nova Scotia. He writes clearly and authoritatively and this is a good primer for those interested in the subject.

Chapter headings are:

1. Coming to terms
2. Variation and change
3. Perceptions of language
4. Protecting language
5. Languages great and small
6. Loyalty, maintenance, shift, loss, and revival
7. Multilingualism
8. Name, sex, and religion
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good ntroduction to the subject 28 Aug. 2015
By Mr. Stephen Redman VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This interesting introduction to the subject clearly defines its terms and brings the subject to your attention. Whereas it reads well, it differs from the other fifteen or so volumes I have read in this series by not having a formal bibliography at the back. It has end notes which list a number of books and articles for reference but they are not laid out clearly and finding what is 'out there' is not easy. I have always felt these books were a great way if getting hold of a good introductory bibliography to read around the subject, and this volume doesn't help as well as it could.
However, when it comes to the subject itself John Edwards writes a highly readable introduction, that generates a thought process in your head and makes you hungry for more - as this it what the book is really about it earns a clear 4 stars.
It discusses what we think language is, how we protect it, maintain and revive it, as well as them any ways in which it varies and changes in a given population. This book should make you crave more!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect introduction to a fascinating subject 10 Jan. 2015
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very clear and straightforward. The perfect introduction to a fascinating subject. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 31 July 2014
By Luis Bernardo - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Buena y organizada síntesis sobre los principales conceptos y objetos de estudio sociolinguístico.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 11 Aug. 2015
By Nancy McAdoo - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As described - great price!
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 22 Feb. 2015
By anthony guzman - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very good, and fast shipping. Great for college students!!
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 14 Feb. 2015
By Trang N. Cu - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great book! Early arrival.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 7 Sept. 2014
By Valerie - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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