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Abstract

Because linguistic forms vary between groups of speakers, language serves as a source of social markers, allowing people to distinguish between those who do and do not belong to the same social group. This review surveys interdisciplinary perspectives on four issues concerning social markers: (a) the role of inter- and intra-individual variation, (b) the purpose of social markers, (c) language as an especially good source of social markers and (d) social marking as a source of new dialects.