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Blackwell Textbooks in Linguistics

The books included in this series provide comprehensive accounts of some of the most central and most rapidly developing areas of research in linguistics. Intended primarily for introductory and post-introductory students, they include exercises, discussion points and suggestions for further reading.

  1. Liliane Haegeman, Introduction to Government and Binding Theory (Second Edition)
  2. Andrew Spencer, Morphological Theory
  3. Helen Goodluck, Language Acquisition
  4. Ronald Wardhaugh and Janet M. Fuller, An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (Seventh Edition)
  5. Martin Atkinson, Children's Syntax
  6. Diane Blakemore, Understanding Utterances
  7. Michael Kenstowicz, Phonology in Generative Grammar
  8. Deborah Schiffrin, Approaches to Discourse
  9. John Clark, Colin Yallop, and Janet Fletcher, An Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology (Third Edition)
  10. Natsuko Tsujimura, An Introduction to Japanese Linguistics (Third Edition)
  11. Robert D. Borsley, Modern Phrase Structure Grammar
  12. Nigel Fabb, Linguistics and Literature
  13. Irene Heim and Angelika Kratzer, Semantics in Generative Grammar
  14. Liliane Haegeman and Jacqueline Guéron, English Grammar: A Generative Perspective
  15. Stephen Crain and Diane Lillo-Martin, An Introduction to Linguistic Theory and Language Acquisition
  16. Joan Bresnan, Lexical-Functional Syntax
  17. Barbara A. Fennell, A History of English: A Sociolinguistic Approach
  18. Henry Rogers, Writing Systems: A Linguistic Approach
  19. Benjamin W. Fortson IV, Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction (Second Edition)
  20. Liliane Haegeman, Thinking Syntactically: A Guide to Argumentation and Analysis
  21. Mark Hale, Historical Linguistics: Theory and Method
  22. Henning Reetz and Allard Jongman, Phonetics: Transcription, Production, Acoustics and Perception
  23. Bruce Hayes, Introductory Phonology
  24. Betty J. Birner, Introduction to Pragmatics
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Companion Website

This text has a comprehensive companion website which features a number of useful resources for instructors and students alike.



fbetw-fig-5001 Visit to access these materials.

List of Figures

Figure 4.1 Linguistic landscapes in Berlin, Germany: Café Happy Day

Figure 4.2 Linguistic landscapes in Berlin, Germany: Your multicultural fresh market

Figure 5.1 The life cycle model of pidgins and creoles

Figure 6.1 The Rhenish Fan

Figure 6.2 Isoglosses

Figure 6.3 H-dropping means for five social groups

Figure 6.4 H-dropping: within-group ranges for five social groups

Figure 7.1 ‘Model’ boy versus ‘typical’ boy: percentages of -ing versus -in' use

Figure 7.2 ‘Model’ boy's preference for -ing versus -in' by formality of situation

Figure 7.3 Use of (r) pronunciation by department store

Figure 7.4 Pronunciation of (r) in New York City by social class and style of speech

Figure 7.5 Percentage of use of -in' in four contextual styles of speech in Norwich

Figure 7.6 Percentage of [z] absence in third-person singular present tense agreement in Detroit Black speech

Figure 7.7 Percentage of (r) absence in words like farm and car in Detroit Black speech

Figure 8.1 The Northern Cities Vowel Shift

Figure 8.2 Degree of centralization of (ay) and (aw) by age level on Martha's Vineyard

Figure 8.3 Degree of centralization and orientation toward Martha's Vineyard

List of Tables

Table 5.1 Pidgins and creoles by lexifier language

Table 7.1 Percentage of [r] use in three New York City department stores

Table 7.2 The (ng) variable in Norwich

Table 7.3 Final cluster simplification among Black speakers in Washington, DC

Table 7.4 Final cluster simplification among Black speakers in Detroit

Table 7.5 Final cluster simplification in several varieties of English

Table 8.1 Percentages of informants overreporting and underreporting variants in Norwich

Table 10.1 Uses of tóngzhì in 1980s China


When I was asked to work on the seventh edition of An Introduction to Sociolinguistics I jumped at the chance, having often used the textbook myself and knowing it was something I would be proud to have my name on. As I worked on the project, my respect for Ronald Wardhaugh only grew; the depth and breadth of his knowledge provides the basis for these chapters. While I am responsible for the content of this textbook, this project was only possible because I had as a starting point such excellent material.

The changes I have made are both thematic and organizational. Throughout the text, I have sought to incorporate research which reflects contemporary social theories, in particular social constructionist and critical approaches, as applied to the study of language in society. Further, I have sought to position sociolinguists as potential actors and activists, not objective observers who necessarily remain outside of the worlds they study; this perspective culminates in the final section, which has been titled ‘Sociolinguistics and Social Justice.’

In terms of chapter layout, some re-arrangement of the materials will be apparent to those who have used the textbook in the past. The first section contains chapters on the same topics, although with some different titles to the sixth edition. The second section has been updated, but retains its focus on variationist sociolinguistics. The section now titled ‘Language and Interaction’ contains chapters on ethnography, pragmatics, and discourse analysis. The final section on social justice continues to include chapters on language and gender (and sexuality) and language policy and planning, but also a chapter focusing on language and education in sociolinguistic research.

Finally, the seventh edition of An Introduction to Sociolinguistics also has an accompanying website, where students can find a review guide, vocabulary lists, and links to related websites for each chapter. There are also materials for instructors, including discussion topics and guides to the explorations and exercises that are provided in the textbook.

May your introduction to sociolinguistics be the beginning of new interests and insights!

Janet M. Fuller


I would like to thank several friends and colleagues for taking the time to consult with me on topics in their expertise during the writing of this book – Matthew Gordon, on variationist sociolinguistics; Michael Aceto, on pidgin and creole linguistics; and Heike Wiese, on Kiezdeutsch ‘neighborhood German.’ Their support was much appreciated.

I am further indebted to Southern University of Illinois, and especially the Department of Anthropology, for granting me the sabbatical during which I did most of the work on this book, and to the John F. Kennedy Institute at the Freie Universität Berlin, and especially Director Irwin Collier, for support while on my sabbatical in 2013–2014.

This project could not have been carried out without the valuable feedback on this revision from Ronald Wardhaugh, and the help with content, formatting, and other logistics from the staff at Wiley-Blackwell. Their support and assistance was much appreciated.

Finally, as always I am grateful to my children for inspiration: Arlette, who has always helped me question everything I thought I knew, and Nicholas, who provided me with encouragement, explanations of pop culture, and tech support throughout this project.