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In this best-selling introductory textbook, Janet Holmes and Nick Wilson examine the role of language in a variety of social contexts, considering both how language works and how it can be used to signal and interpret various aspects of social identity. Divided into three sections, this book explains basic sociolinguistic concepts in the light of classic approaches as well as introducing more recent research. This fifth edition has been revised and updated throughout using key concepts and examples to guide the reader through this fascinating area, including: a new chapter on identity that reflects the latest research; a brand new companion website which is fully cross-referenced within this book, and which includes and video and audio materials, interactive activities and links to useful websites; updated and revised examples and exercises which include new material from Tanzania, Wales, Paraguay and Timor-Leste; fully updated further reading and references sections. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics is the essential introductory text for all students of sociolinguistics and a splendid point of reference for students of English language studies, linguistics and applied linguistics.