I specialize in language variation in American English dialects, particularly Native American, Appalachian, and Southern. My research focuses especially on morphosyntactic variation as well as phonological variation and the correlations between language and identity, as language informs and is informed by all aspects of our cultural socialization. Most recently, my research examines broader issues related to language and the implementation of policy, particularly the implementation of efforts to encourage increased energy efficiency in society, the use of gender-neutral terms in the elementary school classroom, and medical decision-making practices. I focus on issues of social, ethnic, regional, and gender identities and have challenged traditional sociolinguistic assumptions about language boundaries and the trajectory of language change with respect to these identities. Additionally, I look beyond the level of the sentence into the scope of discourse. Utilizing critical discourse theory, I examine discourse language variables at both the descriptive and theoretic levels of analysis in order to better understand the role of language change and identity construction around issues of language policy. I am particularly interested in examining the negotiation of the symbolic representation of self and other over time and social space. My research works to understand culture through acts of talk, communities of talking practice, and by investigating the rate and trajectory of language change.
SOCIOLINGUISTIC/ETHNOGRAPHIC FIELDWORK EXPERIENCE
Fieldwork Coordinator, Anchorage, AK: 2014-present. 100 interviews collected to date.
Fieldwork Coordinator, Maryville, TN: Summer 2011. 30 interviews collected to date.
Fieldwork Coordinator, Cumberland Co, VA: Summer 2011. 9 interviews collected to date.
Fieldwork Coordinator, Blacksburg, VA: fall 2009. 15 interviews collected to date.
Project and Fieldwork Coordinator, Blacksburg, VA: 2008-present. 30 interviews collected to date.
Project and Fieldwork Coordinator, Mercer and Monroe Counties, West Virginia: 2000-present. 70 interviews collected to date
Fieldwork Coordinator, Robeson County, North Carolina: 1995-1999 100+ interviews conducted to date
Fieldwork responsibilities include:
- initiation and conducting of interviews within the county
- organization of interview database and area contacts
- establishment and maintenance of community networks
- implementation of educational programs on language variation, including lectures at the elementary and post-secondary institutions in the county
- management and maintenance of various field and lab equipment designed for the analysis of research data
- production of several research articles in correlation with ongoing funded research