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Center for the Study of Language and Society


Welcome to the Center for the Study of Language and Society

The CSLS focuses on scientific research on the relation between language and society and their interrelations in the broadest sense. It starts form the assumption that language is primarily a fait social: Languages is acquired by interacting with other human beings, it is constructible and is permanently being constructed – as is society, which is not a pre-existing fact, but constructed in the process of interaction between individuals and groups. This constructivist view on language has a long tradition, where of course names like Ferdinand de Saussure cannot be left unmentioned, but it is also mirrored in current approaches like construction grammar. In contrast to the latter, the CSLS and the studies in sociolinguistics it offers does not deal with the systemic aspects of language, but with its use and effects. These include the following subjects:

  • Sociolinguistic variety: Characteristics, function and status of variety
  • Language, discourse and interaction as factors in forming identity and cultures
  • Development and use of linguistic competences in monolingual as well as multilingual contexts
  • Language as a factor of cohesiveness for societies and states
  • Language planning and language politics
  • Language norms and valuations
  • Language contact and language change
  • Language and gender
  • The languages of Europe in the past and in the future
  • Methods of sociolinguistics
  • Psycholinguistic aspects of variation
Universität Bern | Center for the Study of Language and Society | Länggassstrasse 49 | CH-3000 Bern 9 | Tel +41 (0)31 631 54 77
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