Specialization seminar on Sociolinguistics


The main goal of the seminar is to support students conducting research leading to their PhD dissertation. By the end of the seminar, students will have acquired the ability: a) to develop good theoretical and methodological skills in the area of Sociolinguistics; b) to go into depth in a specific area of language variation and change, building on prior knowledge, but adding new insights into it; c) to be able to understand the impact of their choices (both theoretical and methodological) on the development of their work; d) to present the results of their research both orally and in writing.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria Alexandra Moreira de Jesus Fieis e Melo


Weekly - 2

Total - 280

Teaching language





Bailey, R. & Lucas, C. (2007) Sociolinguistic variation: theories, methods and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chambers, J.K. (2003). Sociolinguistic Theory. Linguistic Variation and its Social Significance. Blackwell Publishing, 2ª edição.
Coulmas, F. (ed) (1998) The Handbook of Sociolinguistics. Blackwell Publishing.
Edwards, J. (2009) Language and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Labov, W. (2001) Principles of Linguistic Change. Social Factors. Cambridge: Blackwell.
Labov, W. (1963) The Social Motivation of a Sound Change. Word 19(3), 273-309.
Milroy, L. & Gordon, M. (2003). Sociolinguistics. Method and Interpretation. Oxford: Blackwell.

Teaching method

The seminars will combine, in different weeks, specific theoretical topics for discussion, the presentation and discussion of set papers, and the analysis of case studies. Given the nature of the work to be developed, which will also be based on the research interests of the students, tutorial guidance sessions are also foreseen.
Students will be invited to participate in conferences and/or workshops on the specific areas of the seminar.

Evaluation method

Evaluation Methodologies - Two essays(30%), one final paper(60%), participation in the seminar(10%)

Subject matter

Linguistic variation - the three waves of variationist sociolinguistic research:
- The relation between linguistic variables and macrosociological factors
- The etnographic approach to the study of variation
- The stylistic perspective
Language and identity (language, power and linguistic prejudice)
Language and contexts of use (register, style, diglossia, code switching)
Language variation and change:
- Domains of linguistic variation
- Language and dialect
- Bilingualism and bidialectalism
- Linguistic varieties
Methodological approaches to the study of variation in sociolinguistics.


Programs where the course is taught: