sample lesson plan

The sociolinguistic variable is a critical construct in variationist sociolinguistic theory. This workshop provides students with hands on experience coding linguistic variables in a low-stakes classroom workshop. This lesson plan was developed and refined under the mentorship of Dr. Keli Yerian for LING 491/591: Sociolinguistics at the University of Oregon. This lesson aligns with my goals to provide students with hands-on experience doing linguistic analysis, aiding in their ability to become engaged citizens as well as provide them with problem solving skills, and a piece of the scientific process in linguistics.

Learning objectives:

  1. Students will be able to code sociolinguistic variables
  2. Students will understand through hands on experience how to circumscribe the variable context
  3. Students will develop critical thinking and hypothesis building skills for variationist sociolinguistics
  4. Students will understand a core construct of variationist sociolinguistics: the sociolinguistic interview








task goals

Welcome and outline for the day

Review: What is a variable? What does it mean to circumscribe the variable context? What are examples of internal and external factors we could code?

Introduction to the corpus, introduction to task, and putting students into 3 groups

Each group will be assigned one sociolx variable (e.g., (ing)) to answer questions about and practice some coding for a single speaker in CORAAL. In their groups they should work together to circumscribe the variable context, identify variants, and build hypotheses about external and internal factors that may impact variable use. Working together they should highlight the variable in the transcript and then code the variant that occurred. For example of the document students use in groups, click here.

Students jigsaw: Students reconfigure into three new groups representing a mix of the three variables. Students report on what they found for their variable, difficulties they experienced, and interesting patterns they observed (or hypothesized).