WP85 Sociolinguistics and English language studies

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Like every disciplinary label, ?sociolinguistics? covers a tremendous variety of approaches. In some corners of sociolinguistics, it looks as very little has happened for the past couple of decades; in others however, new developments are emerging at a speed defying that of publishing, causing people to download working papers and circulate Powerpoint presentations rather than finished work. In this contribution I shall focus on the latter rather than on the former. What sociolinguistics has to offer to English Language Studies will be defined by new developments, not by older ones. The new ones challenge the study of language at a fundamental level; the questions they raise cannot be avoided.