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date: 18 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter tackles key concepts in the study of language and society. It shows how the study of language has shifted its terminology and its conceptual understanding of language use by moving from (individual and societal) bilingualism to multilingualism and languaging, ending with the revitalization of a much abandoned concept, that of language repertoires. Rather than a comprehensive review, the chapter discusses selected key assumptions, topics, and analytical developments in the field. It further examines how the past decades of the study of language use have reached a post-Fishmanian stage of maturity in its theorizing, moving from a sociolinguistics of distribution to questions of speakerhood and praxis within complexity. Last, the chapter considers how superdiversity, the emergent perspective of the study of language, and its theoretical and methodological insights bring new life into old issues of language and social change.

Keywords: bilingualism, multilingualism, languaging, superdiversity, repertoires, Fishman

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