Approaching language as a social practice: reflections on some implications for the analysis of language
Keywords:sociolinguistic theory, social theory, sociology, disciplinary mixing, metatheory, language as social practice
AbstractIn this introduction to the special issue of Sociolinguistic Studies untitled Analysing language as a way to understand social phenomena, we follow Coupland (2001) in his call for a more ‘outward-looking sociolinguistics’ and we reflect on the implications of the much recognised need to engage with social theory. We start our introduction by sketching the major questions addressed by previous works on these issues. Then we argue that these questions emerged from ongoing concerns about the orientations we need to take if we want to face the challenges flowing from a comprehensive analysis of language in social life. We go on to explain what these orientations are and how we can try to follow them. We end by showing how these objectives are aimed by each of the volume’s five papers, and also by the composition of the volume itself.
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