The sociolinguistics of sign languages is a growing subfield within linguistics. One of the primary aims of sociolinguistics is to understand the relationship between linguistic variables and the contexts of their use (social variables). Linguistic variables are different ways of saying, more or less, the same thing. The way in which an American English speaker might say “roll” can differ from the way in which a British English speaker might it say it: /rəʊl/ or /roʊl/, respectively. This is an example of sociophonetic variation. At a lexical level, the word used to refer to a bread roll can vary from region to region in the United Kingdom—for example, in the southwest of England you might hear lardy cake, in the Midlands batch, and in Scotland ...

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