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2. The Social and Sociolinguistic Contexts of Language Learning and Teaching


Subject Applied Linguistics » Language Teaching

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405154895.2009.00003.x


We live in an age of linguistic diversity increased greatly by globalization, the movement of people across borders, and the widespread acquisition of additional languages by individuals in their own countries. All of these factors have led to an increase in the number of second-language learners and the kinds of contexts in which they are learning languages. This chapter is about the social and sociolinguistic context of present-day foreign and second-language learning and teaching. In examining the social context of language learning, we focus on how language teaching contexts are affected by the larger social, political, and educational setting in which the teaching takes place. In examining the sociolinguistic context of language teaching, we focus on how the linguistic features of interactions, both inside and outside of the classroom, are affected by the social context in which the interaction takes place. Our division is in many ways similar to a traditional distinction made in the field of sociolinguistics where one of the major debates is whether to take social or linguistic factors as primary in investigating the relationship between the social context and language variables. As evidence of this debate, Wardhaugh (1992) and others make a distinction between the sociology of language and sociolinguistics . Whereas the sociology of language investigates the manner in ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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