Plenary Speaker

Pat Nichols Patricia Nichols
Professor Emeritus
Department of Linguistics and Language Development
San José State University
Title: Rethinking the Origins of Early South Carolina English
In this talk, Nichols makes an interesting link between early South Carolina agricultural practices and the development of the three major varieties of English in this area.

Pat Nichols is an expert on Atlantic coast languages, especially in South Carolina. In her book Voices of Our Ancestors: Language Contact in Early South Carolina, Pat offers the first detailed linguistic history of South Carolina as she explores the contacts between distinctive language cultures in the colonial and early federal eras and studies the dialects that evolved in the state. As language development reflects historical development, Nichols' work also serves as a new avenue of inquiry into South Carolina's social history from the Native Americans to the present day.

Through her analysis of contemporary language variation in regional and ethnic speech communities, she advances our understanding of how diverse the South Carolina experience has been, from the lowcountry to the upcountry, and yet how the need to communicate shared experiences and values has united the state's population with a common meaningful language in which the diverse voices of our ancestors can still be heard.