Sociolinguistics

Sociolinguistics addresses the following kinds of research questions: 

  • How do people's identity affect the way they speak, and how does the way they speak "create" their identity?
  • What happens to languages and their speakers when people of different language backgrounds find themselves living and working in the same community?
  • How can governments and institutions maintain or revitalize languages, while at the same time maintaining effective communication in a community?
  • How do attitudes and ideologies about language affect the way a language is spoken?

Language Contact

We Investigate the evolution of language due to contact between different languages. Languages can come into contact in a variety of ways, such as direct contact between speakers of different languages (e.g., migration, invasion, slavery) and indirect contact, with no contact between speakers of different languages (through media). The outcomes of contact are varied and include pidgin or creole formation, bilingualism, language death, language attrition, code-switching, and borrowing.

People in Language Contact:

Associate Professor
Visiting Lecturer
Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor
PhD Student
PhD Student

Prosody & Intonation

In linguistics, intonation is variation of spoken pitch that is not used to distinguish words; instead it is used for a range of functions such as indicating the attitudes and emotions of the speaker, signalling the difference between statements and questions, and between different types of questions, focusing attention on important elements of the spoken message and also helping to regulate conversational interaction. It contrasts with tone, in which pitch variation in some languages distinguishes words, either lexically or grammatically. 

People in Prosody & Intonation:

Assistant Professor
Associate Professor
Assistant Professor
PhD Student
PhD Student

Sociophonetics

Sociophonetics involves the integration of the principles, methodologies, theoretical frameworks, and insights of the subfields of phonetics and sociolinguistics. 

People in Sociophonetics:

Assistant Professor
Associate Professor
PhD Student
PhD Student, Irvis Fellow
PhD Student

Discourse Analysis

Discourse analysis is a systematic study of language in use or language meaning in interaction. Discourse analytic work draws on several theories and methods developed in other disciplines to analyze the functional properties of language in written or spoken language. In conversation analysis (CA), language is examined in terms of the structure or design of utterances (how they are composed) and their sequential location (when and where they occur) within the interaction. Analyses are based on audio or visual recordings of talk-in-interaction (or other modalities), which are transcribed in detail. Every sound (or gesture) or lack thereof is important.  

People in Discourse Analysis:

Professor
Lecturer
PhD Student
PhD Student

Language Variation & Change

Our faculty and students study the social uses and evaluation of language in its many formulations. Our research focuses on how language varies and changes by social factors such as gender, ethnicity, geography, religious affiliation, age, socioeconomic factors, etc. We embrace the intrinsic value of language as variable, continous, and quantifiable.

People in Language Variation & Change:

Associate Professor
Assistant Professor
Professor
Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor
Professor of Rhetoric and Linguistics, Carnegie Mellon University
PhD Student, Quechua Instructor
PhD Student
PhD Student
PhD Student, Lawler Fellow
Associate Professor, English Education and Language, Literacy and Culture