4/30: William Labov

Dr. William Labov, widely regarded as the founder of the discipline of variationist sociolinguistics, is coming to speak this Friday, April 30th! He has been described as “an enormously original and influential figure who has created much of the methodology” of sociolinguistics.

“Formation of Consensus in the Speech Community”

William Labov, PhD

Professor of Linguistics, UPenn

Lerner Hall C555 Friday 4/30, 3:15pm

Study of linguistic variation began by charting social differentiation of speakers of New York City dialect. We now recognize the pattern as part of a consensus that unifies more than divides the speech community. Recent mappings of linguistic change across North America show uniform directions in regional populations as large as 90 million. Correlating changes with local social networks and communities of practice does not account for such large-scale uniformities. A search for driving forces behind these trends calls for exploring settlement patterns and cultural histories. Most remarkable has been finding that dialect boundaries coincide with the Blue States/Red States division in recent presidential elections.
William Labov received his PhD from Columbia in Linguistics (back when the department really existed…) He is employed as a professor in the linguistics department of the University of Pennsylvania, and pursues research in sociolinguistics, language change, and dialectology.” He is famous for the “department store study” and the “Martha’s Vineyard study”, as some of you may recall. This event is co-sponsored with the Workshops on Meaning Series… it’s the big event of the spring, so come! (And you’d also be missing on a really phenomenal opportunity if you don’t come).
PLEASE RSVP if you haven’t yet done so (especially if you don’t have a CUID so that you can get into Lerner Hall)!