Summer 2019 - LING 160 D100

Language, Culture and Society (3)

Class Number: 2428

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    WMC 3210, Burnaby



An introduction to language in its social and cultural dimensions. Students who have taken LING 260 prior to Fall 2008 may not take LING 160 for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.


This course will introduce you to sociolinguistics. We’ll study the relationship between language and society, and try to uncover the ways in which we convey social meaning and signal aspects of our social and cultural identity through language. We’ll discuss how language is used in multilingual and monolingual speech communities, and explore the reasons for language change, and the social and contextual factors conditioning various linguistic responses. The main topics in this course include:

  • national and official languages,
  • language use, solidarity/distance, and power relationships,
  • diglossia, bilingualism, multilingualism, and code-switching,
  • language shift, language death, language revival,
  • standard and vernacular varieties,
  • regional and social dialects,
  • the effects of gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic class, and social networks on language use,
  • politeness, and cross-cultural communication.
You will learn about sociolinguistic methods through illustrations from a variety of languages, as well as applications within your own speech community.


  • Exam 1 24%
  • Exam 2 25%
  • Exam 3 25%
  • Group assignments 20%
  • Participation 6%
  • No Final Exam


This course may be applied towards the Certificate of Liberal Arts or the Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language, but not both.
Linguistics program students cannot count this course towards their breadth requirements unless in joint or double majors, extended minor or double minors program.

Students should familiarize themselves with the Department’s Standards on Class Management and Student Responsibilities at
Please note that a grade of “FD” (Failed-Dishonesty) may be assigned as a penalty for academic dishonesty.
Student requests for accommodation of their religious practices must be made in writing by the end of the first week of classes or no later than one week after a student adds a course.   Students requiring accommodation as the result of a disability must contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (778.782.3112 or



Holmes, Janet and Nick Wilson. (2017). An Introduction to Sociolinguistics (5th Ed.) London and New York: Routledge. ISBN: 978-1-138-84501-5. Be sure to obtain the correct edition. Older editions will not be used!
Additional materials, e.g., chapters on reserve in the SFU library and article downloads from the library, highlighting sociolinguistic issues in Canada.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.