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Sociolinguistic Metatheory - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780080423999, 9781483296098

Sociolinguistic Metatheory

1st Edition

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Author: E. Figueroa
eBook ISBN: 9781483296098
Imprint: Pergamon
Published Date: 22nd July 1994
Page Count: 213
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. Introduction. The problem. The approach. Overview of study. Part One - Paradigms: The Metaphysical Level. Foundations of Sociolinguistic Theory. The need for "metaworries". Markova's frameworks. The formalist and functionalist linguistic paradigms. Sociolinguistic metatheory. Conclusion. Part Two - Paradigms: The Disciplinary Matrix Level Sociolinguistic Disciplinary Matrixes. Dell Hymes and the Ethnography of Communication - Sociolinguistic Relativism. Sociolinguistics according to Dell Hymes. Sociolinguistic theory and linguistic theory. Ethnography of communication as linguistic theory. Conclusion. William Labov and Sociolinguistic Realism. Sociolinguistics according to William Labov. Sociolinguistic theory and linguistic theory. Labovian sociolinguistics as linguistic theory. Conclusion. John Gumperz and Interactional Sociolinguistics - Intentionality, Interpretation and Social Meaning. Sociolinguistics according to John Gumperz. Sociolinguistic theory and linguistic theory. Interactional sociolinguistics as linguistic theory. Conclusion. Part Three - Paradigms: The Construct Level. Sociolinguistics and Utterance. Introduction. Sociolinguistics and utterance. Utterance and linguistic theory. Utterance and linguistics of particularity. Linguistics of particularity. Conclusion. Sociolinguistic disciplinary matrixes: a comparison. Sociolinguistics revisited. References. Index.


Linguistics is a discipline with ever expanding boundaries and interests. Despite the narrow definition of linguistics which dominates academia, sub-fields continue to flourish and ways of doing linguistics continue to expand. As ways to do linguistics increase, and as approaches to linguistics accumulate over time, it becomes increasingly necessary for students of linguistics to have ways of understanding and comparing developments in linguistics.

Sociolinguistic Metatheory is a book which explains foundational developments in linguistics by taking the past three decades of developments in sociolinguistics and relating them to contemporaneous developments in received linguistics. Sociolinguistic Metatheory takes the reader through the basic philosophical questions which drive linguistic research. It looks in detail at three models of sociolinguistics - Dell Hymes and the Ethnography of Communication, William Labov and Sociolinguistic Realism, and John Gumperz and Interactional Sociolinguistics - and focuses on such questions as: Where is language located? How is an utterance-based approach to linguistics different from a sentence-based approach? How do metatheoretical paradigm assumptions such as realism or relativism affect the development of linguistic theory? What interesting developments in linguistic theory and analysis have sociolinguistics provided?


For linguistic students and scholars within the fields of sociolinguistics, anthropological linguistics, functional linguistics, pragmatics and discourse analysis, as well as linguists of any persuasion interested in theoretical and historical development in linguistics. The book is also of interest to non-linguists in the areas of philosophy, theory, and historiography.


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© Pergamon 1994
22nd July 1994
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@qu:This is one of the most important books to come out in linguistics, let alone sociolinguistics, in the past twenty years. The principles and methods underlying the study of language in society are badly in need of just this sort of critical re-evaluation. Anyone interested in language as a social phenomenon will want to consider in detail Dr. Figueroa's recommendations for relaunching sociolinguistics on more solid theoretical foundations. @source:Talbot J. Taylor, The College of William & Mary @qu:I have enjoyed reading this, and I believe other people in the field will too. It is well-written, erudite and thought-provoking... highly respectable as an academic work, and controversial enough to attract attention. There is no other book in the field like it - this is new, necessary and challenging stuff, and it is important and well done. @source:Professor Peter Trudgill, Université de Lausanne @from:Nikolas Coupland @qu:The book pays specific attention to the contributions and influence of Hymes, Labov and Gumperz. The brief reviews of these three scholars' perspectives are sharply and critically drawn.... Possible versions of sociolinguistics are then debated in relation to normal science and received linguistics, but also in relation to theories in society. This grassroots reappraisal of what is and might be entailed in a claim to the term sociolinguistics is very timely. Figueroa's book has crystallized a debate that I hope will be carried forward by many future contributions to the Journal of Sociolinguistics. [NC] @source: @from:Alan Firth important book for (socio) linguistics and the several related fields of study. Its true value lies in its compact though penetrating discussions of leading figures in the field, and its insistent pursuance of answers to its key questions: what is the realationship of sociolinguistics to received linguistics? What are the theoretical underpinnings of sociolinguistics? The conclusions of the book...demarcate important positions from which to advance. @source:Linguist List 6.1699

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E. Figueroa

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