William Labov launched the branch of language studies known as language variation and change or (more vaguely) sociolinguistics with several influential studies in the 1960s and seminal publications in the early 1970s. As the discipline spread to universities and research institutes in North America and, with remarkable rapidity, to Europe, Asia, the Antipodes, and ultimately all corners of the globe, Professor Labov has remained at or near the forefront of its various movements, including historical sociolinguistics, narrative analysis, sociometrics, subjective evaluation testing, educational and forensic applications, and sociophonetics, as well as mainstream variation studies. His breadth and depth as a scholar have influenced countless linguists and policy makers, and his enthusiasm and boundless optimism have inspired numerous colleagues, collaborators, and students. Several of them relate their personal experiences with the man and his ideas here.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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