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Devyani Sharma
Queen Mary University of London

This talk will offer an overview of recent developments in the study of language variation and change in sociolinguistics. The first half will review major developments in the past decade. This will include methodological changes such as the advent of big data, corresponding advances in comparative sociolinguistics, improved models of language perception, and technological advances in sociophonetics. Theoretical developments reviewed will include new understandings of relationships among social, linguistic, and cognitive constraints and the challenge of fundamental changes in social dynamics, such as the scale and pervasiveness of human mobility in a globalised world and the changing role of technology and social media in language change. In the second half, I pull together some of these developments to discuss recent insights into a classic problem: the relative role of structure and agency in language variation and change.

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