Labov: A Guide for the Perplexed

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William Labov (b. 1927) has been a driving force in linguistics for over four decades. Throughout North America, and in much of the rest of the world, his name is synonymous with sociolinguistics. This new Guide for the Perplexed summarizes Labov’s work in a number of subfields, including historical linguistics, discourse analysis and not least sociolinguistics. It also sketches a broader context for appreciating Labov’s major innovations. His considerable and growing legacy is discussed with comparative glances to other ways of approaching language within linguistics and in neighboring disciplines. Since the publication of The Social Stratification of English in New York City in 1966, Labov has pushed the boundaries of sociolinguistics decade after decade but there has been no one volume guide to his work. This is that guide.

Table of contents

Title Page
Copyright Page
List of Figures
Chapter 1: The challenges of Labov
Chapter 2: Linguistics and sociolinguistics before Labov
Chapter 3: How to establish a field as a graduate student
Chapter 4: A variationist approach to language
Chapter 5: Speech styles and discourse
Chapter 6: The “socio” of sociolinguistics
Chapter 7: Labov as historical linguist
Chapter 8: African American English: Lessons learned, lessons taught
Chapter 9: The revolution at 50

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