One of the first accounts of social variation in language, this
groundbreaking study founded the discipline of sociolinguistics, providing
the model on which thousands of studies have been based. In this second
edition, Labov looks back on forty years of sociolinguistic research,
bringing the reader up to date on its methods, findings and achievements.
In over thirty pages of new material, he explores the unforeseen
implications of his earlier work, addresses the political issues involved,
and evaluates the success of newer approaches to sociolinguistic
investigation. In doing so, he reveals the outstanding accomplishments of
sociolinguistics since his original study, which laid the foundations for
studying language variation, introduced the crucial concept of the
linguistic variable, and showed how variation across age groups is an
indicator of language change. Bringing Labov's pioneering study into the
21st century, this classic volume will remain the benchmark in the field
for years to come.