I study sociolinguistics, specifically, how people use linguistic variation to perform and construct their social identities and the identities of others. I’m especially interested in how individuals who cross traditional racial/ethnic boundaries reflect multiple social identities through linguistic practices. Specifically, I examine the use of suprasegmental features that speakers employ in the performance of their ethnic identities. The focus of my dissertation was intra- and interspeaker prosodic variation in the sociolinguistic behavior of American black/biracial young men.
In April 2016, I defended my dissertation entitled “Intonational Variation, Linguistic Style, and the Black/Biracial Experience” at New York University. My dissertation chair was Renee Blake, and my committee consisted of Lisa Davidson, Greg Guy, John Singler, and Erik Thomas (NCSU). In 2016-2017, I was a Chau Mellon Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science at Pomona College. Since 2017, I have been an Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science at Pomona College. Since July 2020, I have been an Assistant Professor From 2020-2022, I was on leave from Pomona as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania.
My ongoing research aims to address aspects of the question “What does it mean to sound black?” from the perspectives of speakers and listeners, using quantitative methods, with a special focus on prosodic variables. In Fall 2020, I taught a Freshman seminar on Language and Social Identity, as well as a graduate research seminar on Prosody and Social Identity. I was on research leave during 2021. During Spring 2022, I taught Introduction to Sociolinguistics and Research Seminar on Sociolinguistics and Human-Computer Interaction.
-In July 2022, I will present a paper entitled “Watch your tone: Race, gender, and voice quality in automated “Tone of Voice” evaluation” with co-author Paul Reed (University of Alabama) at Sociolinguistic Symposium 24 in Ghent, Belgium.
-In May 2022, I was an invited speaker at Gradience in Intonation Workshop (GRIN) at Speech Prosody 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal
-On April 29, 2022, I gave a colloquium lecture in the Department of Linguistics at the University of California Santa Cruz.
-On April 27, 2022, my ongoing work on racilized perceptions of Apple’s Siri voices was featured in the article “When People Think Siri Sounds Black, Biases Often Surface“, in Consumer Reports.
-On March 30, 2022, I gave a lecture in the Language, Culture and Communication Colloquium at the University of Alberta.
-On March 3, 2022, I presented a colloquium lecture in the Department of Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University.
-On April 29, 2022, I presented a colloquium lecture in the Department of Linguistics at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
-At the LSA Annual Meeting 2022 in January, I presented a poster entitled “Siri, You’ve Changed: Acoustic Properties and Racialized Judgments of Voice Assistants”.
-On November 22, 2021, I presented a talk in the University of Texas at Austin’s colloquium series.
-On October 21, 2021, I presented a talk entitled “The Switch Up is Real”: Examining Prosodic Correlates of Style Shifting on Twitter” at New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV)49, Online.
-On September 30, 2021, I was an invited speaker at Grinnell College’s Linguistic Concentration Colloquium.
-On September 13, 2021, I spoke to NPR about the emergence of the term “progressive” as a political label.
-In July 2021, alongside co-host Ben Zimmer, I launched the Slate’s new Language Podcast, Spectacular Vernacular. We ended the podcast in April 2022, but back episodes are still available!
-On April 23, 2021, I was quoted in the Consumer Reports piece “Hey Siri, Is That You? Apple’s New Voices Resonate With Some Black iPhone Users”.
-Mainstream U.S. English (Native)
-African American English (Native)
-Peruvian Spanish (Near-native)
-Bolivian Quechua (Beginnner)
-Cairene Arabic (Beginner)
-Ph.D., Linguistics, New York University (2016). Dissertation Title: Intonational Variation, Linguistic Style, and the Black/Biracial Experience. Supervisor: Renee Blake
-M.A., Linguistics, New York University, New York, NY (2014)
-B.A., Magna Cum Laude with Honors and Research Distinction in Linguistics; Linguistics, Spanish. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (2010)
-Lyle Spencer Research Award. “‘Don’t Take That Tone With Me’: Linguistic Variation and Disciplinary Action on African American Children in Schools”. PI. With Dr. Sabriya Fisher, Co-PI. Award Amount: $878,869 (2020-2023)
-Chau Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship-Pomona College (2016-2017)
-New York University Global Research Initiative Fellowship at NYU Washington, D.C. (2015)
-NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (2015-2016)
-National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2013-2016)
-Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute Fellowship (2013)
Links to Linguists I Like
–Vocal Fries Pod
–Because Language Pod