SoConDi brings together several intersecting areas of inquiry that explore language in its relation to social, cultural, and cognitive factors. Our work addresses linguistic variation, contact, and change; language and society, identity, culture, and policy; and language acquisition, perception, and use. We analyze language as it exists in the world as a property of speakers and groups, always exhibiting variation, always changing, serving as a vehicle for social action and accomplishment. We meet throughout each semester to present new work or work in progress, discuss newly published articles or books of mutual interest, practice upcoming conference talks, or conduct mini-workshops on methodological approaches or tools.
Our meetings are open to faculty, graduate students, and community members from linguistics and related departments, as well as from neighboring universities (such as Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, and University of Michigan-Dearborn). We also maintain strong ties (and sometimes hold joint meetings) with the Psycholinguistics, Phonetics and Phonology, and Historical Linguistics discussion groups.
For many years the SocioDiscourse discussion group was composed of Michigan linguists interested in sociolinguistics and discourse analysis. Then, a new discussion group was formed in acknowledgment of a growing interest in Language Contact. We soon realized that sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, and language contact are more alike than different, while addressing different specific questions, these three endeavors are often aligned in their fundamental operating assumptions and methods. So we opted to combine them into one supergroup of socially informed linguistic inquiry. But we wanted to keep a recognition of all three original fields in the title, hence our new name: So(ciolinguistics)Con(tact)Di(scourse)!