Sociolinguistics studies the interaction between language and society, i.e. it investigates linguistic variation based on the influence of social factors on language use and language structure. Hence, sociolinguistics deals with questions of language & social class (e.g. How and why does language vary from one social situation to another?) and language & geography (e.g. How and why do accents and dialects develop?), but also investigates issues of language & gender (e.g. Do males and females use language differently and do they speak differently in single-sex groups and mixed groups?) and language & context (e.g. How do speakers signal their identity in the language they use?).

After a brief introduction to the key concepts, basic theories and research methods in sociolinguistics, we will be systematically looking at different examples of language use, analyse the linguistic variables and discuss them in connection to the given extralinguistic variables, i.e. speaker, group and situation.