Current Research

Members' areas of research interest include: language and social networks, language shift and revitalization, language attitudes, morpho-syntactic and phonological variation, regional and ethnic dialect variation in American English, phonological restructuring under dialect contact.

Current group members are conducting fieldwork in the Pacific Northwest and Southern US, Jamaica, Hawaii, Chile, Japan, and Canada.

Here are links to the web pages of projects currently underway by Brown Bag members. This list updates periodically, so please do check back from time to time to find out what we're up to. As a service to sociolinguistics community, we publish some of our Human Subjects Division-approved research tools on our Elicitation Materials Clearinghouse page.



VOIS3D, a software tool for acoustic phonetic, sociolinguistic, and experimental phonological research, was produced by Alicia Wassink. More information can be found here.


The Pacific Northwest Vowels project - Alicia Wassink, Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation BCS#0643374. A sample of the work can be found here.


PNWE materials were used to demonstrate the value of formant trajectory measurement and analysis in the Best Practices in Sociophonetics Workshop (Marianna diPaolo, organizer), at the October, 2013 New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV) workshop (Pittsburgh, PA). Click to access demo materials.


Sociolinguistics Brown Bag Calendar Archive

A primary goal of the Sociolinguistics Laboratory group (The Brown Bag) is extracurricular training and support of lab members. We typically meet weekly throughout the academic year to read and discuss articles, explore issues of current interest in sociolinguistic theory, learn about best practices in study design, research methods, and data analysis, discuss member research, and provide mutual support in our work. Below is an archive of topics we've discussed.

Winter 2005

Fridays 1:30 to 2:30pm, Meeting Location: Thompson 215

21 January-28 March: VARBRUL  tutorial

Autumn 2004

October 29: Introduction to VARBRUL, part II

November 5: Hsí-Yáo Su (CMU 202)

November 12: Plotnik (HUB 209B)

November 19: Plotnik (HUB 209B)

December 3: Variable 1, TBA (HUB 309)

December 10: Variable 2, TBA (CMU 202)

Thursday, May 6

A Dialogue between Prof. Kallen and Lisa Galvin


Simpson Center for the Humanities (CMU 206)

We're billing this pre-brown bag meeting as the "baguette"--either the small bread taken before the afternoon tea, or the small bag. As they say in Jamaica, "take which one you rather!"


Dr. Kallen is an eminent sociolinguist, who has written extensively on Irish English. He will be discussing some of his current work on sociolinguistic variation in Irish English phonology. Those of you who met Prof. Kallen on his last visit know that for someone so distinguished, he is a very laid-back, smart speaker, and very personable. Come hear him talk!


Lisa Galvin's research question revolves around possible phonological restructuring by these Dubliners, after time spent under exposure to American English. To what extent do they retain features of IrE? In particular, what are these speakers doing with word-final /t/ and /d/-class words? Come find out!


Prof. Jeffrey Kallen of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland


Simpson Center for the Humanities (CMU 206)

Problems (and solutions) in building a corpus of Irish English

The International Corpus of English (ICE) project was started in the early 1990s with the aim of compiling corpora of national Englishes in countries where English is a majority first language or an official additional language. The ICE-Ireland corpus develops out of this global interest , but some unique problems are posed by the political division of Ireland (into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) and by the continuing influence (direct and indirect) of the Irish language. In addition to these methodological problems, ICE-Ireland provides data on questions such as the relation between 'standard' English and traditional dialect, variability in auxiliary patterns and negation, and the use of quotative verb forms such as GOES and BE+LIKE in modern Ireland. These and related issues provide a basis for the discussion of sociolinguistic approaches to language corpora.


Tuesday, May 18 Human Subjects Informational Session

Mary Gates Hall (MGH 254)

Those who plan to submit HSD applications in future are strongly recommended to attend. Please note: students in the class are reading (in advance) Donald Larmouth's article, "Legal and Ethical Issues in Surreptitious Recording," which actually provides a more general overview of HSD procedures than the title suggests. If you would like access to this article, please email Alicia at wassink@u...


Thursday, May 20

The sociophonetics laboratory owns several sets of electronic corpora on cd-rom (mostly conversational speech--including soundfiles or both soundfiles and transcriptions- some written). We will have a tutorial in OUGL that introduces us to how to obtain these cd-roms, and how to use the library's computing resources to access them. There are many different possible uses for these data. We will hear about several of these. Please pass this information on to others who might be interested (Compling and Phonetics/Phonology lab members are particularly welcomed).


Thursday, June 3

Celebration! Simpson Center for the Humanities (CMU 206)

We have several students who have finished or will shortly be finishing theses (Darik Olson, among others). We will have a celebration for these folks and hear a bit about their projects.


Autumn 2003

October 23: Darik Olson will be talking about coding a database to study codeswitching patterns in Spanish~English bilingual conversation.

November 6: Jeremy Kahn : coding in computational linguistics (coding for intonation, disfluency, syntactic constituents)

November 20: TBA/Alicia Beckford Wassink : coding for sociodemographic and network factors (will include information on creating a database in Filemaker Pro)

December 4: Group discussion of dictionaries and prescriptivism.