Fall 2019 - LING 309W D100

Sociolinguistics (3)

Class Number: 1867

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    WMC 3250, Burnaby

    We 2:30 PM – 3:20 PM
    WMC 3220, 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 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.


  • Attendance and participation in class 10%
  • Participation in on-line discussion board 15%
  • Chapter summaries 15%
  • Mid-Term exams 30%
  • Term Paper (Literature Review; graded in components 30%
  • No Final Exam


A detailed course syllabus will be distributed during the first week of class.

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 at http://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. 2015. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. 7th edition. Np: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 978-1-118-73229-8.

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