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Studies and practices of intercultural communication have benefited from the insights gained through detailed explorations of how language is used by people in specific social contexts. Some dynamics of special concern to interculturalists in this regard are the ways one language can be used in a variety of ways, how users of a second language relate to first-language users, and how language itself cues specific and distinctive meanings to those with whom it is used. Dynamics such as these are of central concern to sociolinguists, who take the interaction of language and culture (or race, ethnicity, etc.) as their primary concern.

This entry focuses on the origins of sociolinguistics, the basic concepts in the field, recent developments, and its contribution to intercultural communication competence.

Origins of Sociolinguistics

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