Date: Thu, 29 Sep 1994 10:17:45 -0500

From: "Timothy C. Frazer" mftcf[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UXA.ECN.BGU.EDU

Subject: Re: Textbooks for Sociolinguistics

On Thu, 29 Sep 1994, Natalie Maynor wrote:

As long as we're on a textbook thread, do any of you have suggestions

for Sociolinguistics? I've got to turn in a book order for it next week.

The two times I've taught the course before I've used Wardhaugh. Although

it works ok, the students find it a bit dry and boring. So do I. I've

thought about using Fasold but don't want to make the students buy two

books and am not sure that buying just one of the two would give a full

enough view (_Sociolinguistics of Language_ and _Sociolinguistics of


--Natalie (maynor[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Elaine chaika's {Language: the Social Mirror} is highly readable and fun

for the sorts of students I teach, who will not become professional

lignuists. I might nit-pick with her over some details, but it's way

better than the others in terms of student enjoyment. i can't remember

all the chapters offhand, but i know it covers bilingualism, style (e.g.,

register), kinesics, oral culture (raps, ritual insults, etc.),

pragmatics (speech acts, etc.) atlas-type dialectology, Labovian

dialectology, interactional structure, and gender. There's a final

chapter on sociolinguistics and the professions (law, etc.) that I

haven't yet used or read. Most chapters have some exercises and

mini-reserach project at the end that I require my student to do,

selectively, and write up. They are very provocative. I supplement the

text with a Tannen book because I do a lot on gender. I also use some

extra handouts I write on the dialectology of my region, since Chaika is

not familiar with the midwest.

She has some good references to language variation in movies, TV shows,

and Rock music (the latter a little dated unless you have older students

who grew up with the Stones and Beatles).

Students always rate this text very highly. I also use Wolfram's

{American Dialects} (not the title-?????????) which I like but which the

students find boring.

I wish Robbins Burling would do an update and reissue {English in Black

and White}.

Tim Frazer