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Auteur: Edgar SCHNEIDER

Sociolinguistics and multilingualism: where we stand, and where we are heading for

Abstract/Résumé: This paper wraps up the ICL session "Sociolinguistics and multilingualism" by surveying both issues and contributions touched upon in the session. I start out from a systematic overview of the major approaches, concepts and issues of the field as summarized in my "state-of-the-art" paper published in the conference volume, paying particular attention to recent research trends. I will then put the papers given at the conference session in perspective and relate them to the major issues and activities in the field. Thus, the broader topics touched upon will include the following: variationist quantitative sociolinguistics; ethnographic qualitative sociolinguistics; the relationship between multilingualism, language policies, language attitudes, and globalization, including the roles and diffusion of English(es) in many countries and contexts; idiolectal bilingual and multilingual competence and performance; community-level issues in code choice in specific contexts; and language contact effects. The global geographical distribution of the regions covered in the session will deserve special attention: countries and regions discussed include Switzerland, France, Denmark, Britain, Germany, Cyprus, Romania, Estonia, the Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Israel, Tunisia, Nigeria, Ghana, Namibia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, the US, Canada, the Caribbean, and Brazil. Despite the diversity of all these cultures and contexts it is possible to work out some common ground, some fundamental principles underlying the socially motivated conditions of how to use languages and language varieties in human interaction.