Fall 2021 - LING 309W D100

Sociolinguistics (3)

Class Number: 1697

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We, Fr 3:30 PM – 4:50 PM
    BLU 10021, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Suzanne Hilgendorf
    1 778 782-8583
  • Prerequisites:

    LING 282W. Recommended: LING 160 or LING 260.



A systematic approach to the study of linguistic variation in different areal, social, and cultural settings. Students with credit for LING 409 may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


This course is an in-depth survey of the field of sociolinguistics, which recognizes that language first and foremost is a social phenomenon. Language continually is adapted and formed by its users given their uses for it, or the meanings they seek to convey as they interact with others. Depending on context, users vary their language use in ways that reflect their cultural identities and social factors of significance within their speech communities.

The course reviews a wide range of sociolinguistic phenomena, examining research studies on the users and uses of numerous languages of the world (e.g. English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi, Korean, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Indonesian, etc.)

Among the topics it explores are

  • the concepts of language, dialect, variety, and the regional/social/political factors distinguishing one from another;
  • the significance of concepts such as speech community, social network, and community of practice for understanding language use;
  • multilingual societies, multilingual discourse, and the existence of different varieties of a language spoken by monolingual, multilingual, and non-native speakers;
  • contact languages such as pidgins, creoles, lingua francaes, and mixed languages;
  • the grammatical forms of language variation and change due to social factors;
  • ethnography of communication, politeness theory, and discourse analysis;
  • sociolinguistics and social justice (equity, diversity, inclusion issues) with respect to gender and language use; education and schooling; and language policy and planning by governments and institutions.

An additional aim of the course is to provide students with training and extensive practice in formal, academic writing. Students will become familiar with styles of written argumentation, in particular those that are typical in this field and required for advanced study in linguistics.


  • Tentative Course Assignments:
  • Attendance and participation assignments 15%
  • Participation in on-line discussion board 15%
  • 2 formal chapter summaries 15%
  • Four exams (45 mins each) 30%
  • Term Paper (Literature Review; graded in components) 25%


It is strongly recommended that you see the Student Advisor regarding your degree requirements at least two semesters before you plan to graduate.  Unless you meet both faculty and major/minor requirements, your graduation cannot be approved.

Note: To receive a passing grade on any assignment, including in-class writing, the quality of writing must be evaluated as at least LPI Level Four.  The following descriptions of LPI levels will be used:

Level Four: The writing is marred by one or another of a fairly wide range of deficiencies: it may be thinly developed, repetitive, or weak in overall structure; it may contain unvaried, loose or faulty sentence structure; its word choice may be inaccurate, inappropriate, or unidiomatic (that is, it may use expressions that are not found in standard English usage).

Level Three: Essays are placed at level three if they have many errors in sentence structure and vocabulary, or if they are weak in content and badly organized.  Also placed at level three are essays with a high density of errors in the use of articles, the plurals of nouns, the form and tense of verbs, subject-verb agreement, and the English idiom.

Students should familiarize themselves with the Department's Standards on Class Management and Student Responsibilities athttp://www.sfu.ca/linguistics/undergraduate/standards.html.

Please note that a grade of “FD” (Failed-Dishonesty) can and will be assigned as a penalty for academic dishonesty.

All student requests for accommodations for 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 accommodations as a result of a disability must contact the Centre for Accessible Learning(caladmin@sfu.ca).



Wardhaugh, Ronald, and Fuller, Janet M. 2021. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. 8th edition. Np: Wiley-Blackwell. 
ISBN: 978-1-119-47354-1

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students should familiarize themselves with the Department's Standards on Class Management and Student Responsibilities.

Please note that a grade of “FD” (Failed-Dishonesty) may be assigned as a penalty for academic dishonesty.

All student requests for accommodations for 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.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html 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. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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 may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.