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Introduction to Sociolinguistics

LING 640S

We all speak differently. We may speak a different language or dialect from one another, or we may switch during the course of an interaction. Even within a dialect, we don't always talk the same way in every situation, and at least some of this variation is correlated with a speaker's social characteristics and social goals. This course focuses on socially-conditioned linguistic variation, people's attitudes toward it, and the meanings behind it. We discuss what happens during language contact and shift, and we also talk about measures that can be taken to fight language discrimination. Through applying the sociolinguistic theories and methodologies covered, students conduct quantitative analysis and design individual research projects addressing a research question of relevance to sociolinguistics.

This course will give students hands-on experience with data analysis. For the final project, students are required to design a study investigating a sociolinguistic research question. 

The prerequisite for this course is LING 320. Students must also have current graduate standing at UHM or have received prior consent from the instructor.

Publications in peer-reviewed journals that resulted from work completed in this course:

Conference proceedings, presentations and working papers that resulted from work completed in this course:

          Belew, Anna. 2015. Two ‘pidgins,’ one attitude?: Comparing attitudes towards Cameroon Pidgin English and Hawaiʻi Pidgin English among Cameroonians   
          in Honolulu. 8th World Congress of African Linguistics. Kyoto. 
    DeVore, Susanne. 2013. Humor Production in Mandarin and English Conversations. Presented at the 17th Annual Language, Linguistics and Literature Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii.

    Drager, Katie, Rachel Schutz, Claire Stabile, and Bethany Kaleialohapau‘ole Chun Comstock. (2016) They say, 'he talk like one haole': Variation and change among quotative verbs in Hawai‘i. Presented at the LSA Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. in January. 

    Grama, James and Bodo Winter. 2010. The duality of a homosexual epithet in sports. Proceedings of 14th Annual Graduate Student Conference of the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

    Handley, Noella. 2017. The (ING) variation in Hawaiʻi English of Oʻahu and Big Island speakers. Paper presented at the 21st Annual Graduate Student Conference of the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Honolulu, Hawai‘i.
    Hardeman, Kate. 2011. Foreigners speaking Chinese: Native Mandarin speakers' attitudes toward CSL speech. Paper presented at the 10th East-West Center International Graduate Student Conference on the Asia-Pacific Region. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

    Hardeman, Kate. 2012. Foreigners speaking Chinese? Attitudes about non-native Mandarin speakers.  Working Papers in Linguistics: University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa 43(3): 1-11.
    Hooshiar, Kavon, Katie Drager, and Cassidy Copeland. 2016. Coronal stop deletion in Hawaiʻi English. Poster presented at the joint meeting of Acoustical Society of America and the Acoustical Society of Japan in Honolulu, November/December 2016.
    Jung, Heeyeong. 2011. Pitch and Gender: Presentation of a professional yet friendly teacher persona. Paper presented at The 7th Worldwide Consortium of Korean Studies Centers Workshop, SOAS, University of London, June 2011.

    Kirtley, M. Joelle. 2010. Making a Soldier out of a Civilian: Linguistic Identity in the U.S. Military. Paper presented at the American Dialect Society's Language Variation and Change in the United States and Canada 2010. Chicago, November 4-7, 2010.

    Mawardi, Dzulfikri. 2012. Javanese language, Is it a falling legend? Paper presented at the 16th Annual Student Conference of the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

What students have said about this course:

    "It was fun and gave me a lot of helpful tools for future graduate level courses." 

    "The assignments really made me think about sociolinguistic theory & made me step out of my comfort zone." 

    Dr Dre "was very helpful and excited to teach the class. She was understanding and had students' best interests at heart. Always made class fun and exciting." 

    "Was extremely flexible and challenged us to think through problems before giving us the answer right away."  

    "This instructor has very high standards for her students, but she offers all the training and tools needed for success. The key to doing well is communicating honestly with the instructor, and especially asking for help when you don't understand something. (Dr. Drager's classroom is a supportive environment & there are no stupid questions)." 

    "This course is the most demanding, but definitely best course I've taken since I started my Ph.D. course. You were very helpful. I really appreciate it. Thank you very much!!"


Still not sure if this is the right course for you? Email me with any questions and for a copy of the syllabus.

Katie Drager, Associate Professor 
Department of Linguistics, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
kdrager@hawaii.edu
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