Language is an ever varied and constantly changing product of the human experience. Language is shaped and reshaped by the individual and groups of individuals that are using and negotiating linguistic norms and practices. The sociolinguists and sociophoneticians among us are interested in the mechanisms of how language is used, perceived and negotiated by society. We use language to express ourselves and our ideas, but language is also produced and perceived to indicate social identity, group affiliation, region of origin, ethnic background and other similar characteristics. Several main threads of interest in sociolinguistics include:
At present, this group is focused on examining the nature of sound change in English spoken in Western Lower Michigan, particularly as it relates to the Northern Cities Vowel Shift.