William Labov (b. 1927) has been a driving force in linguistics for
over four decades. Throughout North America, and in much of the
rest of the world, his name is synonymous with sociolinguistics.
This new Guide for the Perplexed summarizes LabovOCOs work in a
number of subfields, including historical linguistics, discourse
analysis and not least sociolinguistics. It also sketches a broader
context for appreciating LabovOCOs major innovations. His
considerable and growing legacy is discussed with comparative
glances to other ways of approaching language within linguistics
and in neighboring disciplines. Since the publication of The Social
Stratification of English in New York City in 1966, Labov has
pushed the boundaries of sociolinguistics decade after decade but
there has been no one volume guide to his work. This is that
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