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LING 309 - Sociolinguistics

The purpose of this guide is to assist you in doing research for the LING 309. If you need help, please contact Ivana Niseteo, Liaison Librarian for Linguistics at 778.782.6838, or Ask Us.


Reference books

  • Concise encyclopedia of sociolinguistics [print]
  • An introduction to sociolinguistics / Janet Holmes. [print or online]
  • An introduction to sociolinguistics / R. Wardhaugh. [print or online]
  • The Routledge companion to sociolinguistics / C. Llamas [print or online]
  • The handbook of sociolinguistics / F. Coulmas. [print or online]
  • The Oxford handbook of sociolinguistics. [print]
  • The SAGE handbook of sociolinguistics. [print or online]

Research methods

How to find books

  • In the Library Catalogue start with a combination of Keywords, for example: 'sociolinguistics', 'contact', 'gender'
  • Check the Subject Headings of the records to see if they reflect what you need.
  • You can click on any Subject Heading to retrieve other books catalogued by the same term.
  • If you want to do a Subject search, you have to type in the exact wording of a Subject Heading in order to be able to successfully perform the search. You cannot "invent" Subject Headings, or use your own wording or language because they are *prescribed* by the Library of Congress and assigned as preferred terms.
  • Some suggested Subject Headings are: Sociolinguistics, Languages in contact, Linguistic change, Code switching -- Linguistics, Discourse analysis, etc. To search for books by subject heading, use the Browse Search option in the SFU Library Catalogue, then select Subject browse from the drop-down menu.

How to find journal articles

You have a topic

The best databases to try for journal articles in sociolinguistics are:

In LLBA (by ProQuest), for example, start your search with a combination of two or three Keywords, (e.g. 'creole AND change AND sociolinguistic').

Mark 'Peer reviewed'. What is a scholarly (or peer-reviewed) journal?

Check some of the full records by clicking on the title.

Try to find the *best* Descriptors (=Subject Headings) that reflect what you are looking for.

Another good approach is to first browse the Thesaurus or Index to find the exact DEscriptors (=Subject Headings) used by a database.

First, browse the Thesaurus for the term, e.g.'creoles' (or 'adolescents', 'language contact', etc.) and perform the search.

Then browse the Thesaurus for another concept you are interested in, e.g. 'morphological change', 'borrowing', 'tense', etc.

Both sets will be added to search fields in the database. 

Get the articles

  • Once you've found the citations of the articles you need, you have to check whether the SFU library has the journal in which the particular article is published.
  • There are four possibilities:
    • the article is available full-text online. Click on the link provided.
    • the article is available in the library, in print format only. Click on the SFU Library link to check the location and whether the library has the volume you need.
    • the article is not available in the library, but you can request it. Click on the Search other libraries / Request this item and then on the Request This Item Now.
    • the article is not available at all. Go back to LLBA and choose another item.
  • If you need help with interpreting the information on the Where Can I Get This? page, try Help.
You have a citation

How would you search for an article that you already have the citation for, e.g. from your textbook or from another bibliography?
Find this article in the library:

McWhorter, John H. (2003). Pidgins and creoles as models of language change: The state of the art. Annual Review of  Applied Linguistics, 23, p. 202-12.

 How to write a literature review

  • A literature review should present what has been published and what ideas have been established on your topic.  It must be related directly to your research question. Here are a few tips from the University of Toronto on how to conduct a literature review. See also What is a literature review? from the SFU Student Learning Commons.

Some journals in sociolinguistics at SFU library

Note that older volumes of some journals may be available only in print. Search the library catalogue by Journal Title to find the location of print journals.

Requesting books and articles from other libraries

If you have a citation from another source, and it appears that the SFU Library does not have the material you need, you can request it via Interlibrary Loan.

  • From the Library homepage click on Request Items from Other Libraries.
  • Choose the Book option for books or Journal Article option for articles. All you need to do is fill in the form. The system will start looking for a Western Canadian library that has the item. It will take at least three days, but it might as well take a week or more for the material to arrive.

Referencing and avoiding plagiarism

Citation guides

Citation management software

Citation or reference management tools collect your journal article, book, or other document citations together in one place, and help you create properly formatted bibliographies in almost any style — in seconds.  Citation management tools help you keep track of your sources while you work and store your references for future use and reuse.

Writing support