From Los Angeles to Tokyo, Urban Sociolinguistics is a sociolinguistic study of twelve urban settings around the world. Building on William Labov’s famous New York Study, the authors demonstrate how language use in these areas is changing based on belief systems, behavioural norms, day-to-day rituals and linguistic practices.

All chapters are written by key figures in sociolinguistics and presents the personal stories of individuals using linguistic means to go about their daily communications, in diverse sociolinguistic systems such as:

  • extremely large urban conurbations like Cairo, Tokyo, and Mexico City
  • smaller settings like Paris and Sydney
  • less urbanised places such as the Western Netherlands Randstad area and Kohima in India.

Providing new perspectives on crucial themes such as language choice and language contact, code-switching and mixing, language and identity, language policy and planning and social networks, this is key reading for students and researchers in the areas of multilingualism and super-diversity within sociolinguistics, applied linguistics and urban studies.

chapter 1|11 pages


Why cities matter for a globalising sociolinguistics
ByDick Smakman, Patrick Heinrich

chapter 2|13 pages

Urbanisation and linguistic multitude

ByFlorian Coulmas

part I|88 pages

The global south

chapter 3|18 pages


The linguistic dynamics of a multilingual city
ByReem Bassiouney, Mark Muehlhaeusler

chapter 4|13 pages

Mexico City

Diversity and homogeneity
ByRoland Terborg, Virna Velázquez

chapter 5|19 pages

Old variables, new meanings

Resignification of rural speech variants in São Paulo’s urban ecology
ByLivia Oushiro, Maria del Carmen Parafita Couto

chapter 6|18 pages


Language in the ethnocratic, corporate and mobile city
ByIngrid Piller

chapter 7|18 pages


Language variation and change in a small but diverse city in India
ByShobha Satyanath

part II|124 pages

The global north

chapter 8|15 pages

The language of London and Londoners

BySusan Fox, Devyani Sharma

chapter 9|18 pages


Standardization, ludic language use and nascent superdiversity
ByPatrick Heinrich, Rika Yamashita

chapter 10|14 pages

The city as a result of experience

Paris and its nearby suburbs
ByChristine Deprez, Patrick Heinrich

chapter 11|19 pages

The Randstad area in the Netherlands

Emergent and fluid identity-locality production through language in use
ByLeonie Cornips, Vincent de Rooij, Dick Smakman

chapter 12|23 pages

Notes on the language ecology of the City of Angels

Los Angeles, California, 1965–2015
ByReynaldo F. Macías, Arturo Díaz, Ameer Drane

chapter 13|16 pages

Sydney’s intersecting worlds of languages and things

ByEmi Otsuji, Alastair Pennycook

chapter 14|17 pages


Diversity in disguise
ByKapitolina Fedorova, Vlada Baranova