We live in a multilingual, transforming society in which language plays a dynamic and central role. We use it every day for communication and it is not possible to imagine life without it – it is generally recognised as a mark of what makes us human. But how often do we think about exactly what language is and how we actually use it? Language, society and communication introduces established and new linguistic concepts and theories, and links these to contemporary issues in society and the media, including new social media, with a particular focus on southern Africa.
Language, society and communication explores how language is intricately bound up with issues of power, status and identity. It explores the tension between the diverse nature of everyday language practices, on the one hand, and the societal pressures towards managing and containing this diversity, on the other. It also demonstrates the relevance of linguistic study (e.g. phonology and syntax) to real-world problems (e.g. analysis of a child’s acquisition of language), within a southern African context. Study questions and case studies, which relate the theoretical ideas discussed to current research, are provided at the end of each chapter.
Language, society and communication is aimed at students studying linguistics, language and communication, and related fields such as language education.