WP280 Jan Blommaert and the use of sociolinguistics: Critical, political, personal

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Jan Blommaert was an extraordinary person and a brilliant academic ? warm, hospitable, humorous and hugely energising. In addition, he was profoundly committed to a programme of sociolinguistics that he often traced to Dell Hymes.? A number of this programme?s core elements were spelled out in the introduction to Hymes? 1969 collection, Reinventing Anthropology, a ?book? for people for whom ?the way things are? is not reason enough for the ways things are, who find fundamental questions pertinent and in need of personal answer? (1969:7).? My account of the value and vitality that Jan brought to sociolinguistics borrows from the title of Hymes? introduction, ?The use of anthropology: Critical, political, personal? and, as well as citing some of Jan?s own words, it draws on the reflections of others as evidence of the vigour, clarity and coherence with which he articulated a practice and purpose for work on language in society.