I am Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English at Coastal Carolina University. I am a sociolinguist specializing in syntactic variation with a focus on Appalachian English and Southern United States English.

I study language variation, especially morphosyntactic variation, with the goal of better understanding how languages vary parametrically as well as how speakers use syntactic variants to construct social identities. I approach this study through a blend of quantitative sociolinguistic and syntactic field methods. Along with understanding the syntactic structure of Appalachian English and Southern English and the social distribution of their key features, I am interested in language attitude studies in the South in hopes of uncovering how Southern speakers view these syntactic and phonological variants.

Additionally, I seek to find ways of helping speakers of non-prestige dialects to overcome linguistic insecurity, possibly through boosting covert prestige and regional/ethnic identity. Because of this, I am also interested in Appalachian and general Southern identity construction/maintenance and issues associated with the Standard Language Ideology, especially where these intersect with syntactic variation.


Department of English Coastal Carolina University