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Understanding Language Choices is an introductory textbook for anyone studying the motivations behind language use choices. It provides an introduction into the numerous factors, both internal and external, influencing such choices in a speech community: language attitudes, language learning, identity, the mobility of the community, and much more. The book also provides a foundation for the study of linguistic variation within a speech community, as well as an introduction to methods of data collection when studying the outcomes of language use choices. An important aspect of this book is its emphasis on a participatory approach to language choice research that empowers the speech community. The final chapter discusses lifestyle concerns that researchers may encounter when conducting field studies in developing nations.
Written with the beginner in mind, this textbook includes numerous examples and case studies from around the world to illustrate the realities of sociolinguistic field research. A companion website keeps users of the book up to date with descriptions of the most current research methodologies.
Ken Deckerreceived his M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1992. He brings to this book over 25 years’ experience in field research in the sociology of language and language development. He has conducted sociolinguistic surveys in more than 35 languages in Asia and the Americas and served as consultant on surveys in Africa, Australia, Europe, and the Pacific. Ken is particularly interested in the role of language research in strategic language development.
John Grummitt received his M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Leicester in 2002, drawing on his decade’s experience as an academic writing tutor and trainer of teachers in ESL programs in Japan and South Korea. His more recent survey work in Papua New Guinea has given him a perspective supplementary to Decker’s on sociolinguistic fieldwork and language development.
Assessment’s Contribution to Language Development
Restricted Language Choice
Social Factors at the Restricted Level
Typical Research Questions at the Restricted Level
Typical Restricted-Level Research Tools
Negotiated Language Choice
Social Factors and Language at the Negotiated Level
Typical Research Questions at the Negotiated Level
Typical Negotiated Level Research Tools
Free Language Choice
Social Factors and Language at the Free Level
Typical Research Questions at the Free Level
Typical Free Level Research Tools
Elements of Research Methodology
The Secondary Research Stage
The Primary Research Stage
Making it Happen