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Laboratory Sociolinguistics

Hans Van de Velde, Anne-France Pinget, Cesko Voeten and Didier Demolin


This paper presents laboratory sociolinguistics, a novel approach to variationist sociolinguistics in which laboratory techniques and quantitative research methods are central. The aim is to take our understanding of the linguistic, social and cognitive mechanisms underlying language variation and its dynamics further than in previous sociolinguistic work, and to shed new light on the driving forces that turn language variation into language change. Laboratory sociolinguistics is anchored in new developments in sociolinguistics, in linguistics and in social sciences in general, and reaches out to other disciplines. This contribution is a first introduction of this novel approach. It sketches the rationale, defines its research focus, presents the type of research questions that can be tackled and invites other researchers to join this development.

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