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Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Fundamental Concepts in Sociolinguistics

Indian Institute of Technology Madras and NPTEL via Swayam


Language is a social reality. Language facilitates socialization process and configures patterns of our relationship with each other. It becomes a marker of tour identity and a common thread that binds us together. It is imperative to understand that our social order is developed alongside our linguistic allegiance, shared narratives, collective memories, and common social history. This course discusses some of the fundamental concepts in sociolinguistics that enables us understanding the nature, scope and various social manifestations of language.INTENDED AUDIENCE: UG/PG students of Linguistics, Sociology, Literature, Mass Communication as Core Paper BE/ME/MS/BSc/MSc/PhD etc. students as Elective Paper


Week 1 : Language as a System of Sub-systems; Hockett’s Design Features Week 2 : Language as a Social Reality; Language and Culture Week 3 : Linguistic Relativity: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis; Language and Gender Week 4 : Language and Identity; Language Myths Week 5 : Speech Community; Standard and Vernacular Languages Week 6 : Process of Standardization; Dialects, Sociolects and Register Week 7 : Language Maintenance and Language Shift; Bilingualism: Compound, Coordinate, Subordinate Week 8 : Multilingualism; Code Switching and Code Mixing Week 9 : Pidgin and Creole; Language, Contact, and Variation Week 10 : Linguistic Diversity of India: Language Families: Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Austro-Asiatic, Tibeto-Burman; Language Census of India Week 11 : Language Policy and Planning in India: Scheduled Languages [Schedule VIII], Official Language Act, Trilingual Formula Week 12 : Languages in the Constitution of India

Taught by

Prof. Om Prakash

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