LING310-12S2 (C) Semester Two 2012

Variationist Sociolinguistics

30 points
09 Jul 2012 - 11 Nov 2012


This course explores sociolinguistic variation, theory and research methodology. The course will generally include research-based analysis of New Zealand English, with access to the Origins of New Zealand English (ONZE) database.

Variation in language is not just random, but can be structured. This variation often leads to change, such that one generation of speakers can sound different from the next. This course explores linguistic variability and examines (a) how language varies according to a whole range of different factors (e.g. speaker gender and social class, and e.g. how the connections people can be correlated with particular linguistic forms), and (b) how language changes over time.  For (b) we will compare the speech of older speakers with that of younger speakers, and we will also use archive data so we can go much further back in time.  The course will include practical research-based analysis of New Zealand English, with access to the Origins of New Zealand English database.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will (1) understand how to collect variable language data (2) understand the principles underlying the transcription and coding of linguistic data, (3) be able to display complex data in tabular and graphical form, (4) be able to critically evaluate rival hypotheses regarding language variation and change, and (5) be able to convey key insights in variationist sociolinguistics to a non-specialist audience.


LING206 or LING207 or any two of LING215-LING217

Streams Day Time Where Notes
Stream 01 Monday 3:00pm-4:00pm History 212 6 Aug - 19 Aug,
3 Sep - 14 Oct
Monday 3:00pm-4:00pm Logie 214 23 Jul - 29 Jul
Tuesday 2:00pm-4:00pm Logie 214 9 Jul - 19 Aug,
3 Sep - 14 Oct

Course Coordinator

Kevin Watson


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Class test (1) 14 Aug 2012 20%
Take home exercises (3) 30%
Research poster (1) 18 Sep 2012 20%
Research paper (1) 09 Oct 2012 30%


Required Texts

Tagliamonte, S; Variationist Sociolinguistics: change, observation, interpretation; Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2012.

Recommended Reading

Kiesling, Scott; Linguistic Variation and Change; Edinborough University Press, 2011.

Course links

Library portal
The course outline is available on LEARN (only for students enrolled in this course).

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,239.00

International fee $5,375.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see School of Languages and Cultures.

All LING310 Occurrences

  • LING310-12S2 (C) Semester Two 2012