The coherence of linguistic communities: Orderly heterogeneity and social meaning

Karen V. Beaman, Gregory R. Guy

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


    Varieties of language are seen – by linguists and non-specialists alike – as constituting sets of linguistic characteristics, items, and structures. This is true of languages, dialects, ethnolects, and sociolects, as well as of genres, styles, and registers. However, the boundaries and internal unity of all such lects are known to be problematic. Frontiers between lects are fuzzy, definitional characteristics are often scalar, and usage is not uniform across all speakers. Hence, an open question in sociolinguistics is how coherent the characteristics associated with a lect are, or have to be, and whether a lect should even be considered to constitute a coherent object, an issue we call the “unity dilemma”.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationThe Coherence of Linguistic Communities
    Subtitle of host publicationOrderly Heterogeneity and Social Meaning
    PublisherTaylor and Francis
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Electronic)9781000550146
    ISBN (Print)9780367681821
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities(all)
    • Social Sciences(all)


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