This research theme highlights the interplay between language and society. Focusing on language in its social context, our research examines the ways in which identities and relations are produced in language practice, the role of language in social life (including its relationships to power, national identity, ideology, and institutional inequalities), and the dynamics of language within globalisation and intercultural contact. We address a broad range of research questions, such as: What are the processes through which linguistic features and styles come to be associated with social meanings? Why do regional dialects persist in the face of overt stigmatisation? What kinds of classroom talk are best for children’s learning? How is language involved in the replication of educational inequalities? How do people communicate across different languages and cultures in diverse urban centres? How are class, gender and ethnic identities constructed through language use? How are language-related issues represented in and by the media?
To address these questions, we draw upon a range of research methodologies and perspectives, including, quantitative variationist sociolinguistics, interactional sociolinguistics, linguistic ethnography, and discourse analysis.