Summer 2020 - LING 160 D100

Language, Culture and Society (3)

Class Number: 1540

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM



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 uncover some of the ways in which we convey social meaning or 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; cumulative total 20%
  • Participation 6%
  • No Final Exam
  • Exams/assignments may require data collection, library and/or online research, etc.


This course may be applied towards the Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language.
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.


Please note that all teaching at SFU in summer term 2020 will be conducted through remote methods. Enrollment in this course acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.