Journal of Sociolinguistics

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing


In four issues of 160 pages each per year the Journal of Sociolinguistics is an international forum for multidisciplinary research on language and society. The journal promotes sociolinguistics as a thoroughly linguistic and thoroughly social-scientific endeavour. We encourage submissions which forge innovative links theoretically or empirically between social systems and linguistic practices. The journal is concerned with language in all its dimensions macro and micro as formal features or abstract discourses as situated talk or written text. Data in published articles represent a wide range of languages regions and situations - from Alune to Xhosa from Cameroun to Canada from bulletin boards to dating ads. The journal publishes occasional thematic issues on new topics of wide relevance to sociolinguistics such as 'Styling the Other' (1999 edited by Ben Rampton) and 'Non-standard orthographgy and non-standard speech' (2000 edited by Alexandra Jaffe). We publish and encourage articles that build or critique sociolinguistic theory and the application of recent social theory to language data and issues. The journal's Dialogue section carries opinion pieces and exchanges between scholars on topical issues including in 2000 Jan Blommaert Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Robert Phillipson on sociolinguistics and linguistic human rights.

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    Journal of SocioLinguistics website
  • Other titles
    Journal of sociolinguistics (En ligne)
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  • Material type
    Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

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Blackwell Publishing

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    • 'Blackwell Publishing' is an imprint of 'Wiley-Blackwell'
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Publications in this journal

  • Journal of Sociolinguistics 02/2014; 18(1).
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Drawing on previous analyses of the social meaning of demonstratives and other function words, we argue that the semantics of demonstratives facilitates affective uses that can be characterized as attempts by the speaker to foster a sense of shared perspective and common ground with other discourse participants. We present large-scale quantitative evidence that this strategy is widely used and communicatively effective. We then conduct a focused case study of the demonstrative use of U.S. politician and public figure Sarah Palin, situated in the wider context of Palin's persona, style, and place in the social landscape. An analysis of television interview data shows that Palin is a distinctive and prolific user of affective demonstratives. Palin's usage highlights the context-dependence of demonstratives’ social meaning and leads to a deeper understanding of her rhetorical strategies and the polarized reactions they have received.
    Journal of Sociolinguistics 02/2014; 18(1).
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article examines variation in the use of two Taiwan Mandarin features, de-retroflection of sibilant fricatives [ʂ] → [s], and labial glide deletion [wɔ] → [ɔ], in the speech of Taipei County high school students. The features become resources for the negotiation of identity positions within the highly structured school institution. I discuss the correlations between the use of Taiwan Mandarin and two social factors: membership in the small culture (Holliday ) of a particular bānjí or class, and individual aspirations. Holliday's concept of small cultures is proposed as a variant of the Community of Practice. I refer to Bucholtz and Hall's () tactics of intersubjectivity framework as a possible tool for explaining variation at the school. I argue that the two Taiwan Mandarin features are invoked to perform different social goals, which is possible because they are imbued with related but significantly different sociocultural meanings (Brubaker ; Baran ).本研究探討台灣新北市高中高職生的發音使用,針對台灣華語中的兩個特徵:(1)捲舌嘶音[ʂ]的齒音化[s],以及(2)[wɔ]韻尾唸做[ɔ],也就是雙唇滑音[w]被刪除的情形。學生常用這兩種範疇來劃定自己在高度結構化的學校社群中的身份地位。作者探討台灣華語的使用方式與以下兩種社交因素的關聯:(1)在某班級的「小文化」歸屬 (Holliday ),以及(2)個人發展志向。作者提議:Holliday的小文化概念與「實務社群」(Community of Practice)概念相似,而Bucholtz and Hall () 的互為主體性架構也可以做為分析學校差異性的工具。根據作者的論點,學生常運用上述兩種台灣華語的發音特徵來達成不同的社交目的,因為這兩個特徵各有不同卻相關的社會文化意涵(Brubaker ; Baran )。[Chinese]
    Journal of Sociolinguistics 02/2014; 18(1).
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    ABSTRACT: The paper explores diglossic relations between Central Thai and phasa isan, a variety officially known as a dialect of Thai, but linguistically close to Lao. Phasa isan is spoken by almost one-third of Thailand's population but its speakers in the Northeast are often stigmatized as uneducated and backward. We conducted field research mainly among university students in Ubon Ratchathani, a northeastern border province, by drawing upon data from survey questionnaires, reflective essays, interviews, and field observations. The findings suggest a transitional diglossic relationship in which Central Thai is the High and phasa isan the Low variety. These relationships are discussed in terms of nationalism, social hierarchy, and language maintenance and shift.
    Journal of Sociolinguistics 02/2014; 18(1).
  • Journal of Sociolinguistics 02/2014; 18(1).
  • Journal of Sociolinguistics 02/2014; 18(1).
  • Journal of Sociolinguistics 11/2013; 17(5).
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    ABSTRACT: The paper documents the early stages of grammaticalisation of a new first person singular pronoun, man, used in multi-ethnic adolescent peer groups in inner cities of the U.K. I argue that the pronoun derives from a plural noun man, which is used in the peer groups to refer to a group of individuals whose precise composition is defined by the linguistic or situational context. The recruitment of man as a pronoun is encouraged by the frequent use of its homonym as a pragmatic marker and address form in the peer groups, and by the locally salient connotations of some uses of the singular noun man. The functions of the plural noun and the pragmatic marker are reflected in the two main rhetorical functions of the new pronoun: adolescent speakers use the man pronoun to position themselves as members of a contextually defined group and thereby provide authority for their opinions or mitigate a potentially face-threatening act, and they also use it to solicit empathy from their interlocutor or construct solidarity. I suggest that a compositional model of the semantics of pronouns can account for the emergence of the new pronoun. Cet article analyse les premières étapes de la grammaticalisation d'un pronom nouveau, man, chez les adolescents multi-ethniques dans quelques grandes villes de l'Angleterre. Dans ces groupes de pairs, le substantif man a développé une forme plurielle, man, qui fait référence à un groupe d'individus dont la composition précise s'est définie par le contexte linguistique ou situationel. Je soutiens que le pronom vient de ce substantif et que son apparition est renforcé par l'usage fréquent par les adolescents de man en tant que marqueur discursif et terme d'adresse. Les fonctions du substantif pluriel man et le marqueur discursif man se reflètent dans les deux stratégies rhétoriques principales pour lesquelles les adolescents utilisent le pronom. Un modèle compositionnel de la sémantique des pronoms démontre comment ce pronom nouveau a pu naître. [French]
    Journal of Sociolinguistics 11/2013; 17(5).
  • Journal of Sociolinguistics 11/2013; 17(5).
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    ABSTRACT: Since the groundbreaking works of Atkinson and Drew () and O'Barr () the field of language and law (sometimes called ‘forensic linguistics’) has developed at an accelerating pace to become a major subfield in sociolinguistics as well as neighboring disciplines. A wealth of research has revealed the complex dimensions of power and ideology in both written and verbal modes of legal discourse and how the law is indeed a ‘law of words’ (Tiersma ). Rather than being the passive vehicle for the imposition of law, language actively channels our interpretation of evidence, statutes and credibility into distinct strands of legal relevance. But the law is more than ‘just words’ and here I demonstrate in vivid detail how the integration of language and material conduct like artifacts, audio-recordings and transcripts figure in the production of legal reality. Using a lengthy extract from a criminal trial, I illuminate how language and material conduct reflexively animate one another and other visual resources. In so doing, I show how disparate streams of multimodal resources converge in an incremental build-up of suspense and intertextual escalation of evidence that circulate around a key moment of legal discourse.
    Journal of Sociolinguistics 11/2013; 17(5).
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we argue that writing has largely been ignored as a significant empirical object of study in sociolinguistics. Pointing to the consequences of the specific ways in which writing has been positioned historically within sociolinguistics, we discuss the need to re-imagine writing as an object of study and problematize the dominant lenses through which writing is understood and analysed. We draw on recent work to illustrate three key challenges that need to be addressed: firstly, to move beyond a default position on writing in terms of ‘standard’ and ‘error’; secondly, to extend the analytic gaze beyond a monomodal orientation towards writing; and thirdly to avoid the privileging of single moments and sites of production. We conclude by giving an overview of the papers in the special issue and the ways in which they seek to reorient sociolinguistics towards the study of writing.
    Journal of Sociolinguistics 09/2013; 17(4):415-439.
  • Journal of Sociolinguistics 02/2013; 17(1).
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines how speakers deploy narrative devices in talking about Sudanese refugees. Particularly, we show how narrative constructions form an important basis for the advancement of accounts about integration problems into the local polity. We analyse talkback ‘phone-in’ calls to a local Adelaide radio station that provide callers an opportunity to give accounts of events and social phenomena that concern them in their local settings. Analysis shows that speakers regularly deployed narrative constructions, first-hand ‘witnessing’ devices that functioned to legitimate accounts as veridical versions of events, and contrast devices to explicate the moral and behavioural aberrance of Sudanese refugees. The analysis illustrates how these discursive devices function rhetorically in interaction, in ways that differentiate Sudanese refugees as problematic. Through this analysis, we contend that narrative devices precipitate and bolster socio-political policies that have serious, negative consequences for Sudanese refugees.
    Journal of Sociolinguistics 02/2012; 16(1):28 - 55.
  • Journal of Sociolinguistics 02/2012; 16(1):127 - 130.
  • Journal of Sociolinguistics 02/2012; 16(1):135 - 139.
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    ABSTRACT: Within general and specific contexts of plurilingual sociolinguistic practices, the ‘religious classical’ presents a quandary for sociolinguists. A feature of many ethno-religious settings, both autochthonous and diasporic, the religious classical is communicatively ‘inert’, invariably ‘ancient’ and restricted to ‘ritual’ and textual scholarship. Social processes involving complex and often contradictory linguistic resources, and characterised by some as cultural and linguistic ‘flows’, seem to sideline the religious classical, with its restricted sociolinguistic function and domain, as an object of analysis. In a study of the teaching and practice of religious classicals in well-established diasporic settings in the U.K., the author seeks to account for scripted performative acts which can be described and explained as flexible linguistic resources which counteract and resist the fixed and unchanging notion of the religious classical. They underpin a dynamic (and thus ‘flow-like’) rather than a static relationship between language and identity.
    Journal of Sociolinguistics 01/2012; 16(5).
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    ABSTRACT: This study has two goals: empirically, it accounts for variation found in the use of ethnically-marked variants among British-born Asians; methodologically, it assesses the variationist approach against a repertoire approach. In Part I, analysis of one Punjabi-derived phonetic trait, examined in interview data only, suggests that younger women shift to exclusive use of the British prestige variant. Part II expands the analysis to four variables and to broader speech repertoires for four individuals. The repertoire analysis shows the conclusions in Part I to be inaccurate, and instead reveals: (1) retention of Punjabi traits by young women in the home domain; (2) two types of repertoire – flexible and fused; (3) a gendered reversal in repertoire type over time; and (4) a network diversity basis for these differences. Unlike the initial variationist analysis, the use of repertoire analysis and a new Network Diversity Index leads to the discovery of a shift among lower-middle-class British Asians from traditional Punjabi to urban British social structures.
    Journal of Sociolinguistics 09/2011; 15(4):464 - 492.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper investigates the perceptual aspect of quantitative sociolinguistic variation in order to derive properties of a sociolinguistic monitor integrated into linguistic processing in real time. A series of experiments measured listeners’ sensitivity to frequencies in the form of variable percentages of the non-standard apical form of the variable (ING). Subjects heard ten trial readings of broadcast news from the same speaker, and rated them on a seven-point Likert scale of professional suitability. Responses conformed closely to a logarithmic function in which the effect of each deviation from the norm was proportional to the percent increase in deviations. The logarithmic pattern of responses was replicated in group and individual experiments in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and in group experiments in Columbia, South Carolina and Durham, New Hampshire. South Carolina subjects were less critical of the /in/ variant in news broadcasting but showed the identical logarithmic function in reacting to Northern and Southern speakers. Inferences are drawn on the window of temporal resolution of the sociolinguistic monitor, its sensitivity and the pattern of attenuation over time.
    Journal of Sociolinguistics 09/2011; 15(4):431 - 463.

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