Sociolinguistics is one of the central branches of modern linguistics and deals with the place of language in human societies. This introductory textbook expertly synthesises the main approaches to the subject. The book covers areas such as multilingualism, code-choice, language variation, dialectology, interactional studies, gender, language contact, language and inequality, and language and power. At the same time it provides an integrated perspective on these themes by examining sociological theories of human interaction. In this regard power and inequality are particularly significant. The book also contains two chapters on the applications of sociolinguistics (in education and in language policy and planning) and a concluding chapter on the sociolinguistics of sign language. Written collaboratively by teachers and scholars with first hand experience of sociolinguistic developments on four continents, this book provides the broadest introduction currently available to the central topics in sociolinguistics.Key Features * Provides a solid foundation in all aspects of sociolinguistics and explores important themes such as power and inequality and new themes such as sign language, gender and the internet * Well illustrated with maps, diagrams, inset boxes, drawings and cartoons * Accessibly written with the beginner in mind * Uses numerous examples from multilingual settings * Explains basic concepts, supported by a glossary * Further Reading lists, a full bibliography, and a section on 'next steps'provide valuable guidance Topics include: * Regional and Social Dialectology * Variation Studies * Language and Gender * Interactional Sociolinguistics * Multilingualism and Code Choice * Language Contact and Language Learning * Language and Power/Political Economy * Applied Sociolinguistics * Sociolinguistics of Sign Language Lecturers - Here's How This Book Will Help Your Students * It will give your students a solid foundation in all the traditional areas of sociolinguistics, but also encourage them to explore new orientations, such as power and inequality * Unlike some textbooks, Introducing Sociolinguistics relates the work and conclusions of sociolinguists with current sociological theories of human interaction, providing an integrated approach to the subject * Chapters cover all the key areas, including code-choice, language variation, dialectology, gender, multilingualism, language contact, language learning, interactional studies, language inequality, and power * The book also contains two chapters on the applications of sociolinguistics, and a concluding chapter on the sociolinguistics of sign language * Each chapter includes a series of short questions or small-scale 'language observation' projects for students to consider, and suggestions for further reading Who is it for? Designed for first year undergraduates with no previous knowledge of linguistics, ths textbook will be suitable for students studying other aspects of language simultaneously, perhaps in linguistics, education, applied linguistics or language departments, including English.