Sociolinguistic approaches to humor are concerned not primarily with the linguistic forms of humor—for example, with the structure of a narrative joke, or how a pun is constructed (although these may prove to be relevant), but rather with how humor as an aspect of language use relates to society. For sociolinguistics, linguistic variation as a key dimension of social organization has always been a central concern. Sociolinguistics emerged out of dialectology, which was interested in tracking geographical differences in language use that had been laid down through settlement and migration patterns. Early work in dialectology focused on the lexicon and then expanded to phonology and morpho-syntax. In the 20th century, sociolinguistics elaborated the incipient attention to social class in the dialectology work (e.g., the “cultured” speaker) and expanded it, along with new concerns with variation by gender, ethnicity, and age. This sociolinguistic work, with some exceptions that will be discussed in this chapter, operated within a positivist framework that searched for correlations between individual linguistic features on the one hand (such as rhoticity), and social categories (such as social class), to use Labov’s (1966) New York City study as an example. Thus it should be clear that “humor” would not have worked as a category in this framework, or even “joking” as an activity deployed by people in a particular social category.