Sociolinguistic Insights into Digital Communication

  • Lawrence Williams
Living reference work entry
Part of the Encyclopedia of Language and Education book series (ELE)


This article provides an overview of research in two interrelated areas of language learning and teaching: digital communication (sometimes referred to as computer-mediated communication or CMC) and sociolinguistics. The research selected for inclusion in this article is primarily centered around the development of the sociolinguistic competence of learners of French because this simply happens to be the focus of major contributions in this field. Nonetheless, many of the studies reviewed here represent the use of a range of different types of digital communication for many different types of tasks and educational configurations.

The early developments and major contributions in this area of inquiry all deal with the analysis of sociolinguistic dimensions of language. This means that the research reviewed in this article is not preoccupied with aspects of communication that are right or wrong. Instead, these are features of language and discourse that are variable and, therefore, can only be considered appropriate or inappropriate according to any number of contextual factors (e.g., age, location, political affiliation, region, social standing, etc.).


Computer-mediated communication Language learning Sociolinguistics 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of World Languages, Literatures, and CulturesUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

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