WP97 Writing as a sociolinguistic object.

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Writing has never been a core object of sociolinguistics, and this paper argues for a mature sociolinguistics of writing. From a sociolinguistic viewpoint, writing needs to be seen as a complex of specific resources subject to patterns of distribution, of availability and accessibility. If we take this approach to the field of writing, and unthink the unproductive distinction between ?language? and ?writing?, we can distinguish several specific sets of resources that are required for writing: from infrastructural ones, over graphic ones, linguistic, semantic, pragmatic and metapragmatic ones, to social and cultural ones. These resources form the ?sub-molecular? structure of writing and each of them is subject to different patterns of distribution, leading to specific configurations of writing resources in people?s repertoires. Thus, we can arrive at vastly more precise diagnostic analyses of ?problems? in writing, and this has a range of important effects.