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15. The Sociology of Language: A Return Visit

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Chapter Summary

When the sociology of language was first renewed after World War II, it had already experienced roughly half a century of growth, primarily under German (and ultimately: Nazi) auspices. Originally, after its revival in the United States under the auspices of a Research Committee of the American Social Science Research Council, the designations "sociology of language" and "sociolinguistics" were approximately equally common in the United States. Sociolinguistics implies a type of linguistics whereas the "sociology of language" implies a type of sociology and, accordingly, a focus on social class, social processes and social problems, as related to and expressed via language. The chapter is subtitled "a return visit" to indicate an attempt to pick up on and further develop a perspective that has been relatively neglected in recent years. Language planning represents the generalization of reversing language shift.

Keywords: bilingualism; language planning; language shift; sociolinguistics; sociology of language



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