1932

Abstract

The close relationship between language variation and the nature of social ties among people has been the focus of long-standing commentary in linguistics. A central puzzle in this relationship is the seeming contradiction between two bodies of evidence: automatic, mechanistic diffusion of linguistic forms through social networks and ideologically mediated choice in uptake of forms. Nearly a century of research has revealed that certain types of network structure facilitate the diffusion of linguistic innovation, but these network structures are always anchored in temporally specific and ideologically mediated cultural norms—for instance, norms of gender, class, and ethnicity. Furthermore, not all linguistic variables diffuse in the same way through these structures; social indexicality has a mediating effect. We review prevailing methodologies, theories, and conclusions of this body of work and look ahead to emerging technological advances and more integrated theoretical approaches.

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2020-01-14
2024-04-19
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