Professor of English
I am the English department's linguist, with formal training in Germanic philology and traditional American descriptive lingusitics. I teach courses in the structure and history of the English language that complement the study of literature written in English and provide fundamental knowledge about the language and its use for those who are planning to teach composition or literature at any level, language arts in early schooling, or English to non-native speakers. The two main courses offered regularly are Grammar of Current English (ENGL 313) and History of the English Language (ENGL 314/814). In 2006, Laura Clark Brown of the Southern Historical Collection and I developed a First Year Seminar for the new curriculum, Southern History from Manuscripts (ENGL 075) which we co-teach in the fall semester. As scheduling permits, I also teach a First Year Seminar on English the International Language (ENGL 059), and an undergraduate course fulfilling the U.S. diversity requirement, English in the U.S.A. (ENGL 315).
Although my early work was on the language of the Old English writer AElfric, my research has focused on contemporary realizations of the vernacular, rather than on its earliest attestations.
Using the slang of my students to illustrate the forms and meanings of words and their histories, I have explored the social function of vocabulary shared by a group and its relationship to other kinds of informal and colloquial vocabulary. My 1996 book, Slang and Sociability: In-Group Language among College Students (UNC Press) brings together various strands of my research on college slang presented as articles and conference papers from 1979-1993. The book is based on a corpus of more than 10,000 items of slang contributed by undergraduates at UNC-Chapel Hill from 1972-1993. I continue to collect slang from my students and to contribute to the scholarly literature on the topic. See Recent Publications, below.
My current research project combines my interest in the development of English in the United States, particularly the South, with my interest in language variation in my native state, Louisiana. One focus of my research is the Prudhomme Family Papers (#613) held by the Manuscript Division of UNC Libraries. See Recent Publications, below.
I also have a long-standing project of writing the biography of Louise Pound (1872-1958), founding editor of American Speech in 1925 and first woman president of the Modern Language Association.
LACUS (Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States)
President (2004); Vice-President (2003); Secretary-Treasurer (1993-98)
ADS (American Dialect Society)
Vice-President and Program Chair (2007-8); Member, Executive Committee (1991-96)
SECOL (Southeastern Conference on Linguistics)
President (1979); Vice-President and Program Chair (1978); Member, Executive Committee (1974-76, 1980)
SAMLA (South Atlantic Modern Language Association)
President (2003): Chair, Nominating Committee (2004); First Vice-President (2002); Second Vice-President (2001); Member, Program Committee (2005-06, 1995-98; Acting Chair, 1996); Director of Career Services (1986-89)
DSNA (Dictionary Society of North America)
Delegate to The American Council of Learned Societies (2007-09.)
ACLS (American Council of Learned Societies)
Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure, 2008-10.
Committee on University Government, 2007 -
Faculty Advisory Committee, Department of Linguistics, 2004--.
Executive Committee of the Faculty Council, 2004-07
Faculty Chair, Humanities Division, 1998-2001, 2001-2004
Director of Graduate Studies in English, 1981-84, 1985-87.
Chair, USA Committee, "The Art of Elizabeth Bishop: An International Conference and Celebraçao in Brazil," 1997-99.
Recent and Selected Presentations & Publications
Slang and Sociability: In-Group Language Among College Students. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996. 228 pp.
College Slang 101. Illustrated by Felipe Galindo. Georgetown, CT: Spectacle Lane Press, 1989. Paperback. 95 pp.
"Slang, Argot, and Intergroup Codes." Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. 2nd ed. 14 vols. Ed. Keith Brown. Oxford: Elsevier, 2006. Vol. 11, 412-15.
"Slang and Anti-language." Sociolinguistics: an International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society. 2nd ed. 3 vols. Eds. Ulrich Ammon et al. New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2004. Vol. 1, 262-67.
"Slang." Language in the U.S.A. Eds. Edward Finegan & John R. Rickford. New York: Cambridge UP, 2004. 375-86.
"Slang and Interconnections" (LACUS Presidential Address, July 31, 2004.) LACUS Forum XXXI: Interconnections. Eds Adam Makkai, WilliamJ. Sullivan, & Arle R. Lommel. 2005: 5-11.
"Slang, Metaphor, and Folk Speech." Needed Research in American English. Publication of the American Dialect Society #88. Ed. Dennis Preston. Durham: Duke UP, 2003. 151-61.
" Slang and the Internet." 1 Congresso Internacional da ABRAPUI (Associação Brasileira de Professores Universitários de Inglês). June 5, 2007.
"English/French Bilingualism in 19th Century Louisiana: A Social Network Analysis." Empirical and Analytical Advances in the Study of English Language Change. Eds. Susan Fitzmaurice and Donka Minkova. New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Forthcoming.
"From French to English in Louisiana: the Prudhomme Family's Story."Language Variety in the South III. Eds. Catherine Davies and Michael Picone. Tuscaloosa: U. of Alabama Press. Forthcoming.
"A Historical Sociolinguistic Study of the Term Creole in Louisiana." LACUS Forum XXXIII: Variation. Eds. Peter Reich, William J. Sullivan, Arle Lommel & Toby Griffen. 2007. 427-34.
"Cajun English." Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. 2nd ed. Ed. Charles Reagan Wilson. Language, Vol. 5. Eds. Michael Montgomery & Ellen Johnson. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007. 49-50.
"The Loss of French in Antebellum Louisiana: A Social Network Perspective." LACUS Forum XXXII: Networks. Eds. Shin Ja J. Hwang, William J. Sullivan & Arle R. Lommel. Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States. 2006. 91-98.
"Speaking the Big Easy (New Orleans, LA)." American Voices: How Dialects Differ from Coast to Coast. Eds. Walt Wolfram & Ben Ward. Maldan, MA: Blackwell, 2006. 42-48.
"The Louisiana Purchase and American English." American Speech 78 (Winter 2003): 347-52.
"DARE and the Louisiana Purchase." DARE (Dictionary of American Regional English) Newsletter 6 (Fall 2003): 1-4.
"Englishes of Southern Louisiana." English in the Southern United States. Eds. Stephen J. Nagle & Sara L. Sanders. New York: Cambridge UP: 2003. 173-88.
"Prolegomenon to the Study of Cajun English." The SECOL Review 17 (Fall 1993): 164-77.
Review: Cajun French-English English-Cajun French Dictionary and Phrase Book. Clint Bruce & Jennifer Gipson. Hippocrene Books, 2002. Language Magazine: the Journal of Communication and Education 2 (Dec. 2002): 38.
Review: Cajun Vernacular English: Informal English in French Louisisana. Ed. Ann Martin Scott. Louisiana English Journal, Special Issue 1992. The SECOL Review 17 (Fall 1993): 180-82.
"Louisiana Creole: An Evolving Ethnic Label." Dictionary Society of North America. June 15, 2007.
"A Historical Sociolinguistic Study of the Term Creole in Louisiana." Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States. August 2, 2006.
"Louisiana Creole Identity and the French Language in 19th Century Louisiana." Southeastern Conference on Linguistics. April 28, 2006.
"English/French Bilingualism in 19th Century Louisiana: A Social Network Analysis." Studies in the History of the English Language 4 (SHEL 4). October 1, 2005.
"The Loss of French in Antebellum Louisiana: A Social Network Perspective." Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States. August 3, 2005.
"Adolescents in Northern Louisiana in the 19th Century." Southeastern Conference on Linguistics. April 8, 2005. "Family Papers and Language History: The Prudhommes of Louisiana." Studies in the History of the English Language 3 (SHEL 3). May 7, 2004.
"From French to English in Louisiana: the Prudhomme Family's Story. LAVIS III [Language Variation in the South.] April 15, 2004.
"Local Language and Local Identity in New Orleans." Modern Language Association. December, 2001.
"Popular Accounts of Louisiana Speech." Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States. August, 2001. "Cajun, Creole, and Calories: the Linguistics of Food in New Orleans." Southern American Studies Association. February, 1993.
"Don't Eat Them Deadmen's Fingers, Dahlin'." American Dialect Society. December, 1988.
"Louise Pound." Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. 2nd ed. 14 vols. Ed. Keith Brown. Oxford: Elsevier, 2006. Vol. 9, 802.
"Louise Pound." The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States. Eds. Cathy Davidson & Linda Wagner-Martin. Oxford UP, 1994: 702.
"H.L. Mencken and Louise Pound." American Dialect Society. December, 1992.
"Laura Biddlecomb Bound: Frontier Mother and Teacher." College English Association. April, 1988.
"Louise Pound and American English." SECOL Presidential Symposium in Memory of James Gough. Southeastern Conference on Linguistics. November, 1987.
"The American Language." American History through Literature, 1870-1920. Eds. Tom Quirk & Gary Scharnhorst. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2006. 46-49.
"Love of Words" (SAMLA Presidential Address, November 15, 2003.) South Atlantic Review 69.2 (Special Issue 2004): 98-104.
"American Speech in American Speech." English Today 1.4 (October 1985): 16-19.
"What is Sociolinguistics? Sociolinguistic Basics." Website of the documentary film Do You Speak American? MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, 2004.
"American Language." Encyclopedia of American Studies. 4 vols. Ed George Kurian et.al. New York: Grolier, 2001. Vol. 1, 102-5.
Ph. D., UNC Chapel Hill, 1970
M.A., UNC Chapel Hill, 1967
B.A., St. Mary's Dominican College, 1964