Whether or not sociolinguistics has become or is becoming a 'core' area of linguistics research and teaching depends on what is meant by the term. In some linguistics programmes, students study linguistics so that they can work on problems of language in its social context. The study of such traditional 'core' areas as phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax is either a skill to be learned to facilitate the study of problems of language in context, or a requirement to be completed so that energy can be devoted to what they consider the really interesting issues. Modern theories of syntax, morphology and phonology are avoided. It is still the case that linguists who concentrate on abstract theory treat those who practise sociolinguistics rather as poor relations, but younger sociolinguists in turn are beginning to feel a certain level of disdain for abstract theorists as well. There seems to be a certain bifurcation of the field into functionalist camps of various kinds and formalist linguists. Each group largely ignores the work of the other, engaging in controversy largely with other functionalists or other formalists.