Intro To Sociolinguistics Distance Education English Language Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Sociolinguistics is the study of the relationship between language and society. It seeks to explain why people speak differently in different social contexts; to identify the social functions of language and the way language is used to convey social meaning. Since language is a phenomenon that is closely linked with the social structure and value systems of society, it is essential to study it in its "natural" environment. Sociolinguistics is, at some point, an empirical enterprise. That is, it must be based on both data and theory. The theoretical and methodological principles may somewhat vary according to the approach adopted and the level of society at which sociolinguistic study is conducted (e.g., nation, community, individual etc). 

Course description

This course is an introduction to the study of language as a social phenomenon. The course aims to provide an introduction to various approaches to contemporary Sociolinguistics, focusing upon the social and cultural implications of language use, i.e., the way people use language in different social contexts. Particularly, we will explore the role of language in the transmission of social and cultural values as well as its role in the development and maintenance of human relationships.

Topics covered include: approaches to the study of language in its social context; linguistic diversity and societal multilingualism; language planning and policy (with special focus on Malaysia); the role of language in social stereotypes and identity; social norms and appropriate language use; speech communities and social networks; the effect of social factors on language variation; language change; and the linguistic consequences of language contact.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the semester you will:

be aware of a range of approaches to Sociolinguistics

be familiar with key concepts in the study of language use and society

have considered the relationship between language and its social uses


Holmes, J. (2001). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. London: Longman

Please contact Mr Tan Yun Chuan (Pustaka Prinsip) for the text book.

His mobile number is 012-280-8241

Recommended readings

Ball,M. (2005). Clinical Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.

Meyerhoff, M. (2006). Introducing Sociolinguistics. New York: Routledge.

Stockwell, P. (2002). Sociolinguistics: A resource book for students. London: Routledge.

Talbot, M., Atkinson, K. & Atkinson,D. (2004). Language and Power in the Modern

World. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Wardhaugh, R. (2004). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Blackwell.


Your grades for this course will be assessed as follows:

Assignment: 30%

Mid-semester test: 30%

Final examination: 40%


You will be given a written assignment to work on. The questions will be given to you during the first face-to-face session. The assignment is due WEEK 10. Please refer to the IMPORTANT DATES section of this handout for submission details.


There will be one Midterm and one Final examination which will cover specific parts of the course. These exams will not be cumulative. Some questions on the exams will require you to discuss an issue in a short essay. You are therefore expected to be able to do so in STANDARD ACADEMIC ENGLISH appropriate for a university course. Punctuation, spelling, and clarity of your expression will be considered in the evaluation of your responses.

You must not rely solely on lecture notes in order to prepare for exams. The lecture notes (which will be available on line) mostly indicate the topics that are covered during a lecture. It is your responsibility to be able to discuss such topics thoroughly, based on the FULL CONTENT of a lecture, and the assigned reading.

Important Dates


Assignment due


Mid-semester test


Final examination

Extensions Policy (for assignments)

Individual extensions for assignments will be granted only in cases of properly documented health and personal emergencies, which should be brought to my attention as soon as possible. Non-emergency extensions will be granted only after seeking approval with me at least two weeks in advance of the due date. In the absence of an extension, all late work will be penalized a full grade per week (for example, A will become A-, B+ will become B, etc.).

Student-instructor communication

You are encouraged to communicate with me about your progress in the course, and other course-oriented issues. You are also welcome to visit me at A158 during office hours, or to set up an appointment at a time that is convenient both of us. For certain brief questions you can also contact me by phone. Undoubtedly, most of our communication will take place via e-mail. Please keep the following in mind:

1. If I think the question may interest other students as well, I will post it on the class website ANONYMOUSLY, and provide the answer there as well as respond to the student who asked the question.

2. I answer class email only during working hours. That is 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday. If you send me an email on Saturday, I will not answer it during the weekend.

4. In order for your emails to be handled properly please start your subject line as follows: Q-BBI 3204 - PJJ. Please make sure your question is phrased clearly. Depending on the volume of received email I may not be able to respond immediately. However, I will try to be as prompt as possible.


Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will be punished to the full extent that University Regulations allow. Academic dishonesty includes cheating, fabrication, fraud, plagiarism and facilitating academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty is never a good way to learn anything, thwarts the purpose of true education, and is unjust to your fellow students. For homework, you are encouraged to discuss and problem-solve together, but you must write up your own work to turn in.  For all exams, you must work on your own and turn in your own work.