Sociolinguistics is on the move

14 10 2009

Interesting blog post by Ingrid Piller over at languageonthemove.com. Taking a page from William Merrin‘s position paper, Piller lists five arguments why sociolinguistics needs to be reframed. I am reproducing these arguments here and adding a sixth.

# 1. Multilingualism is normal
# 2. Language is always embodied in communication
# 3. The native speaker is dead
# 4. A language with a name is an idea not a fact
# 5. “All uses of language are equal” – Not!

#6. Process, process, process (and context)

For too long, we’ve studied language forms (T/V, anyone?). Studying language-in-society should be about processes of contextualization. If we take a page from linguistic anthropology, I believe we have some exciting theoretical concepts for doing just that, to name but three: Silverstein’s indexical order, Bauman & Briggs’ entextualization, Bucholtz & Hall’s tactics of intersubjectivity.


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