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In the same way an understanding of physics is necessary for engineering, an understanding of sociolinguistics is foundational to all language related work. Sociolinguistics is the field of study having to do with the interaction of language and society; how all aspects of society have an effect on language, and how language has an effect on society. The field of sociolinguistics can be described as a mixture of sociology and linguistics, or of anthropology and linguistics.

Typical sociolinguist topics include:

  1. Multilingualism and language choice
  2. Speech communities
  3. Dialects, accents
  4. Language contact: pidgins and creoles
  5. Language death, maintenance and shift
  6. Variation in language
  7. Language planning
  8. Regional and social dialects
  9. Social networks
  10. Language change
  11. Style, context, register
  12. Solidarity, politeness and cross-cultural communication
  13. Speech functions
  14. Culture, cognition, and language
  15. Language and gender
  16. Language, power and disadvantage
  17. Language attitudes