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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews the relationship between sociolinguistic theory and the empirical domain of World Englishes. Despite considerable potential for mutual exchange, sociolinguistic theory has not been the primary analytic model for World Englishes. Using examples from multilingual cultures around the world, the chapter illustrates how postcolonial English contexts can test the validity of classic tenets of sociolinguistic theory. These include principles pertaining to class, gender, style, age, network, peer effects, apparent time, and identity, all of which were initially based on observations in monolingual urban Western contexts. The discussion then turns to the importance of such testable theoretical claims for deeper understandings of the social dynamics of variation and change in World Englishes.

Keywords: sociolinguistic theory, variation and change, class, gender, style, age, identity, network, apparent time

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