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The Sociolinguistics of Writing

Theresa Lillis

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Brings the study of writing to the heart of sociolinguistic inquiry

This book puts writing at the centre of sociolinguistic inquiry drawing on a range of academic fields including New Literacy Studies, semiotics, genre studies, stylistics and new rhetoric. The key question the book explores is- what do we mean by ‘writing’ in the 21 century?

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About the Author

Theresa Lillis is Professor in English Language and Applied Linguistics at The Open University, UK. Her research interests are in academic and professional writing, particularly the politics of access, location and participation. Recent publications include Academic writing in a global context, with Mary Jane Curry (Routledge 2010) and articles in journals such as TESOL Quarterly, Written Communication, the International Journal of Applied Linguistics and the Journal of Advanced Composition.


Lillis has provided a useful overview of writing from a sociolinguistic perspective. She challenges the status quo in sociolinguistics by clearly and succinctly arguing for the study of writing as a central focus in the field. The author’s lucid, engaging text provides a welcome perspective on writing as a dynamic, multimodal, social practice occurring everyday in not only traditional but also emergent domains.

- James Corcoran, University of Toronto, Linguist List

The author has succeeded in giving an ambitious and intelligently designed overview of the scientific discourse related to writing and sociolinguistics. The present publication shows the current state of research and helps researchers, and perhaps advanced students, to get an impression of different approaches to the topic as well as to position themselves and their work. It can be seen as real progress that writing is no longer neglected in sociolinguistics. it is most interesting to see what kind of research in this relatively new field will be produced in the near future.

- Iris Foster, TU Braunschweig, Written Language & Literacy

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