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 undergraduates. 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was pretty good, but it lacks a great deal on conversation and interaction, and, in general, it is a little out of date.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 not satisfactory. 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 culture area. Dennis Preston