Pragmatics and Variationist Sociolinguistics

Richard Cameron and Scott Schwenter

in The Oxford Handbook of Sociolinguistics

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199744084
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Pragmatics and Variationist Sociolinguistics


This chapter identifies how pragmatics may inform definitions of the sociolinguistic variable, provide a basis for generating hypotheses about constraints, and contribute to useful debates about where variation may or may not occur. It shows show how variationist research may provide empirically based tests of pragmatic hypotheses, contribute to discussions of meaning-in-use, and identify facts of language use that challenge key ideas in the field of pragmatics, such as the speaker as rational message designer. The chapter notes the asymmetrical relationship between the fields of pragmatics and variationist sociolinguistics. It also cites the lack of statistical analysis in much of pragmatics.

Keywords: sociolinguistic variable; linguistic variation; language use; variationist sociolinguistics; pragmatics

Article.  8440 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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