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University of York

An Introduction to Sociolinguistics: Accents, Attitudes and Identity

University of York via FutureLearn


Learn what your attitude to accents and dialects says about yourself and society

We all have preferred accents and ways of speaking, but what makes something ‘good’ or ‘bad’ English? On this course, you will explore where our attitudes to language come from, how they are formed, and what they tell us about society.

You will be introduced to a range of sociolinguistic research methods and learn what these methods tell us about our individual sense of identity. You will also study their impact on social factors like gender, social class, and national affiliation. Plus, you will determine the real-world implications of language attitudes on our society as a whole.

This course is designed for school or college students who are interested in studying English language and linguistics at University.

It also be of interest to English A Level and Advanced Higher teachers, and anyone with an interest in spoken language and accentism.


  • Introducing the study of accents and language attitudes
    • Introductions
    • What is an accent?
    • Attitudes toward accents
    • Introducing the relationship between accent variation, attitudes and identity
  • How do you measure accent variation and language attitudes?
    • What is a sociolinguistic variable?
    • Approaches to collecting data about language variation and attitudes
    • Analysing our own speech data
  • What is the relationship between language and identity?
    • What do we mean by identity?
    • How sociolinguists explore language and identity
    • The representation of accent attitudes and identity in the media
  • Why language attitudes matter
    • Accentism and accent reduction
    • Accentism in society
    • Language attitudes in the legal system

Taught by

Sam Hellmuth


5.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

4.7 rating at FutureLearn based on 203 ratings

Start your review of An Introduction to Sociolinguistics: Accents, Attitudes and Identity

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    Faviola Jordan
    I would rate this course as one of the most complete in terms of linguistics. And I think for the people who are taking this class this course information is very good.

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