Date: Thu, 16 Mar 1995 07:13:00 EST
From: "Dennis.Preston" 22709MGR[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MSU.EDU
Subject: Re: language and society text
After much flopping around, our Language and Society course here at MSU (300
per semester) has settled (temporarily) on Wolfram's Dialects and American
English and a substantial course pack of readings. We have also worked out a
fairly decent system of group and individual language collection projects
which contribute substantially to the grades.
Some of the recommendations to the list we have tried and found simply not so
good. Wardhaugh is a dandy review for grad students, but, in spite of its
clarity, it is just too dry (and in places too idiosyncratic) for
Holmes, Romaine, both good, simply do not address any familiar stuff. Why
would you want American undergrads to read about varieties in East Anglia
when they don't know beans about the US Northern Cities Vowel Shift?
The old Trudgill Sociolinguistics was pretty good, but it lacks a great deal
on conversation and interaction, and, in general, it is a little out of date.
Chaika's section on discourse and conversation is good, but the treatment of
US regionalism (and quantitative matters in sociolinguistics in general) is
For now, I think it would be tough to beat Wolfram for US students, with, of
course, a lot of added readings, particularly in the general language and