Language Variety in the New South: Contemporary Perspectives on Change and Variation

Language Variety in the New South: Contemporary Perspectives on Change and Variation

Language Variety in the New South: Contemporary Perspectives on Change and Variation

Language Variety in the New South: Contemporary Perspectives on Change and Variation

Synopsis

Bringing together scholars from a range of disciplines to assess the use and meaning of language in the South, a region rich in dialects and variants, this comprehensive edited collection reflects the cutting-edge research presented at the fourth decennial meeting of Language Variety in the South in 2014. Focusing on the ongoing changes and surprising continuities associated with the contemporary South, the contributors use innovative methodologies to pave new pathways for understanding the social dynamics that shape the language in the South today.
Along with the editors, contributors to the volume include Agnes Bolonyai, Katie Carmichael, Phillip M. Carter, Becky Childs, Danica Cullinan, Nathalie Dajko, Catherine Evans Davies, Robin Dodsworth, Hartwell S. Francis, Kirk Hazen, Anne H. Charity Hudley, Neal Hutcheson, Alex Hyler, Mary Kohn, Christian Koops, William A. Kretzschmar Jr., Sonja L. Lanehart, Andrew Lynch, Ayesha M. Malik, Christine Mallinson, Jim Michnowicz, Caroline Myrick, Michael D. Picone, Dennis R. Preston, Paul E. Reed, Joel Schneier, James Shepherd, Erik R. Thomas, Sonya Trawick, and Tracey L. Weldon.

Excerpt

The fourth decennial meeting of Language Variety in the South (henceforth lavis IV) in Raleigh, North Carolina, in April 2015 built on and extended the rich academic foundation and tradition of the three preceding lavis meetings. By bringing together prominent linguists and language researchers, these meetings became the preeminent regional linguistics conference in the country. To fully contextualize the landscape for the present volume, we first revisit briefly the prior conferences and people that laid the foundation upon which we build.

1.1. lavis

The first Language Variety in the South conference, planned and coordinated by Michael B. Montgomery and Guy Bailey, was held at the University of South Carolina–Columbia in 1981 with support in part from the university and from the National Science Foundation (NSF; grant RD-*1899-81). the conference centered on black and white language varieties in the South and their relationship over time and place. the impetus for the initial conference was twofold. First was the organizers’ conviction, shared by many other scholars working in the field of American dialectology at that time, that “no question in the study of American English is more crucial or more controversial than that of how the speech of blacks and whites in the South is related” (Montgomery and Bailey 1986:1). Second, the conveners observed that existing research on this crucial question was often of uneven quality, reliant on varying approaches and methodologies; thus, it was not advancing . . .

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