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Second Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


Just like a dress we wear, language may be more or less appropriate to the situation we find ourselves in and may be influenced by a number of demographic, social and, more generally, cultural factors.
In the course of Linguistics and Society we will try to understand what may be the elements that help to recognize the different linguistic "cloths" that a speaker or a community uses in a conscious or unconscious way. To do so, we will analyze some of the research that represents the most classical foundation of the discipline that deals with the study of language in relation to society, Sociolinguistics, and we will verify what it highlights in the linguistic productions that surround us. We will observe, in particular, what are the parameters that create variation in linguistic use (for example, age, gender, social status of the speaker, but also conditions outside the speaker). We will see how these parameters have been considered in some studies carried out in Italy and around the world and have allowed us to highlight significant variations in the linguistic production of a community. We will also see how, in addition to the internal variation within the language, communities can also have a pluri- and multilingual variation and we will observe how this linguistic plurality can be observed and described.
Through the research carried out by different sociolinguists and the observation of the sociolinguistic reality that surrounds us we will also evaluate different forms of linguistic data collection and analysis tools.

The course aims to provide knowledge and skills in the field of sociolinguistics. In details:

Knowledge and understanding
- To be able to locate sociolinguistics among the sciences of language.
- To understand the complex articulation of the discipline.
- To understand the basic principles and concepts of the discipline.
- To know the different approaches and different issues of sociolinguistic analysis.
- To know the main researches that have addressed sociolinguistic studies in different fields of investigation and in different perspectives of analysis.

Applying knowledge and understanding
- To know how to apply theoretical tools to sociolinguistic analysis.
– To be able to recognize sociolinguistic phenomena also from a comparative point of view, starting with what is found in the contexts of national language use.
– To know how to carry out analysis and synthesis of sociolinguistic problems.

Making judgments
– To reach a sociolinguistic awareness about national and foreign languages contexts.
– To be able to interpret sociolinguistic data and to process autonomous judgments and interpretations about them.

– To be able to use the basic specialized lexicon of the discipline in the description of sociolinguistic phenomena.

Lifelong Learning Skills
– To be able to use the knowledge acquired in order to describe and analyze sociolinguistic phenomena of studied languages and those present in the students’ personal repertoire.


Basic knowledge and understanding of general linguistics.


1. Definition, history and status of the discipline.

2. Classes of analysis and basic notions:
- language, dialect
- language varieties and “diasistema”
- language community
- social network
- social variable, sociolinguistic variable and variants
- dimensions of the sociolinguistic variation, related structural and functional phenomena.

3. Variation and linguistic change:
- social conditions and parameters of language variation (and consequent structural linguistic phenomena);
- social motivation to language change;
- language variation, social network and language change

4. Sociology of language
- status and linguistic functions
- linguistic repertoire and types of linguistic repertoires
- plurilingual repertoires and communities
- linguistic attitudes
- plurilingual repertoires and territory
- linguistic repertoires and language landscape
- language policy and language planning

5. Methodology of collecting and analyzing sociolinguistic data:
- forms of field researches in sociolinguistics;
-instruments for collecting and analyzing sociolinguistic data.

Teaching Methods

- Lectures.
- Exercises of reading and analysing sociolinguistic data.

Verification of learning

- Examination methods: Written test.
In order to assess the learning process, the examination will focus on the contents of lectures, on practise sessions, and on the textbooks indicated in the reference bibliography.
There will be an interim test (not mandatory and addressed to the students attending classes, related to the first part of the programme: points 1, 2 and 3 of the section “Contents”), and a final test. The students who pass the interim test with a rating from 18 to 30 will limit the final exam just to the second part of the programme (points 4 e 5 of the section “Contents”). Those who will not pass the interim test will be examined for the whole programme of the course.
The verification and evaluation test aims at verifying the acquired knowledge and skills through different kinds of questions: multiple-choice, short-answer and essay questions.

Criteria for final mark
The final mark depends on the level of individual learning outcomes for both sections of the programme. In particular:
- for multiple-choice questions, the correct choice of options will be evaluated;
- for short-answer and essay questions the evaluation will take into account correctness, accuracy, completeness and depth of the required content as well as the correct use of the technical language. In order to pass the exam (that means to reach a mark higher than 18/30), students must demonstrate that they have gained sufficient knowledge of the arguments related to the basics of the discipline and the various levels of sociolinguistic analysis, and to be able to apply theoretical notions to specific cases. To achieve a score of 30/30 with honours, students must demonstrate that they have gained an excellent knowledge of all the topics of lectures and reference bibliography, and that they are able to apply the theoretical notions to specific cases, accurately using the special language of the discipline.


1) Berruto G. / Cerruti M., 2014, Manuale di sociolinguistica, UTET, Torino (Capp. 1, 2, 3, 4 e 6).

2) Labov W., 2003 [1963], “La motivazione sociale di un mutamento fonetico”, Giannini S./ Scaglione S. (a c. di), Introduzione alla Sociolinguistica, Carocci, Roma, pp. 45-89.

3) Loi Corvetto I.,2011, Italiano di Sardegna, Treccani-Enciclopedia dell’Italiano, LINK:

4) Iannàccaro, G., 2020, “Per una tipologia delle politiche linguistiche europee tra lingue di minoranza e lingue nazionali”, in Marra A. / Dal Negro S. (eds.), Lingue minoritarie tra localismi e globalizzazione, Studi AItLA 11, AItLA-Associazione Italiana di Linguistica Applicata, Officinaventuno, Milano, pp. 25-50.

One of the following ones:
5) Dal Negro S., 2008, “Local policy modelling the linguistic landscape”, in Shohamy, E./ Gorter, D. (eds), Linguistic Landscape. Expanding the Scenary, New York, Routledge, pp. 206-218.
6) Guerini F., 2012, “Uso dei dialetti nella segnaletica stradale con nomi di località: una panoramica sui comuni della Provincia di Bergamo”, in Linguistica e Filologia 32, pp.51 - 74.

At the beginning and during the course, other work materials available online will be indicated and further reference and further study texts may be provided.
Among the teaching material that will be uploaded online, additional bibliographic suggestions will be recommended for non-attending student.

More Information

Part of the teaching material used in class will be available online on the channels that will be indicated by the lecturer.
Attendance of lectures and exercises is highly recommended, also in order to be able to take the interim test.
For non-attenders: contact the lecturer for supplementary readings that will allow you to have access to all the content covered during the course.

Questionnaire and social

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