LING210-21S2 (D) Semester Two 2021 (Distance)

Sociolinguistic methods

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 July 2021
End Date: Sunday, 14 November 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 1 August 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 1 October 2021


This course explores the sociolinguistic study of language variation and change. We examine how language varies both between individuals (e.g. accents) and within individuals (e.g. style). You will also learn transferable research skills. Students will record a sociolinguistic interview and analyse it to uncover hidden linguistic patterns.

Languages are not static; they vary and change across time and space in ways that are quite predictable once we understand more about the speakers of these languages, and their social characteristics.  This course takes you on a journey of discovery.  We will re-trace some of the methodological innovations in the field of sociolinguistics, and explain how these methodological innovations have led to a better understanding of the relationship between language and society.  We will begin with the introduction of the first methodological tool in the sociolinguists’ tool kit – the sociolinguistic interview.  Then, we will work through advances in that tool kit to better understand social structure (e.g. by applying social network analysis), or to better understand the contributions that can be made by different types of speakers (e.g. by working with children or speakers of understudied languages).  We end with a look at the application of new and exciting methodologies to recent sociolinguistic research such as EEG, experimental methods and the use of so- called ‘big data’.  At every stage of the journey, we will be guided by two questions: (1) what is this new methodology?  And (2) what have we learned about connections between language and society from using it?

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will:

(1) Display a good understanding of the main methodological advancements in the field of sociolinguistics
(2) Display a good understanding of the theoretical implications of these methodological advancements
(3) Demonstrate an ability to read and critique published sociolinguistic research
(4) Demonstrate a variety of sociolinguistic research skills including collecting and transcribing sociolinguistic data

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


Any 15 points at any level from any subject.


LING203, ENLA210

Course Coordinator

Lynn Clark


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Essay 30% Due in exam period
Take home task 1 20% Week 6
Take home task 2 20% Week 11
Weekly learn quizzes 30% released weekly, to be completed by the following Friday

There is no final exam for this course.

More information about each piece of assessment will be provided in separate handouts.

Textbooks / Resources

There is no set textbook for the course. Instead, journal articles and book chapters will be recommended to accompany each lecture. Electronic copies will be made available on Learn.

To access the Learn page for the course, go to, and log in with your usual UC username and password. You will see a menu of the courses you are enrolled in.

Other material, which may be helpful, can be found at the Library Subject Guide for Linguistics:

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $785.00

International fee $3,500.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences .

All LING210 Occurrences

  • LING210-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021
  • LING210-21S2 (D) Semester Two 2021 (Distance)