The Historiography of Linguistics, Post 2: The History of Sociolinguistics, Another Perspective

This chapter, taken from John E. Joseph’s (2002) book From Whitney to Chomsky, presents a different view on the historical development of the field of sociolinguistics in America than sources such as Roger Shuy (see Post 1 in this area). In doing so, Joseph attempts to demonstrate how class-focused analyses of language variation predate the work of Labov and even McDavid among US scholars. In particular, he argues the work of George Putnam, Edna O’Hern, and Paul Furfey is overlooked, and these works need to be reevaluated in discussions of the history of sociolinguistic thought and study in the US.

Joseph, John E. 2002. The origins of American Sociolinguistics. From Whitney to Chomsky. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. pp. 107-132.https://www.dropbox.com/s/0w0mwdpa6k08i2u/Joseph_2002_Chapter5.pdf?dl=0

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About daviddurian
I am a sociolinguist with a Ph D in Linguistics from The Ohio State University and an MA in Rhetoric and Professional Writing from Northern Illinois University. Currently, I work as the Lecturer at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, where I teach undergraduate courses in sociolinguistics, general linguistics, and first-year composition. I also work on research projects investigating variation and change in the vowel system of modern US English as it is spoken by Americans living in a variety of cities. At the moment, this includes Chicago, IL, Columbus, OH, and Eastern Pennsylvania.

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