Language and Society in Vermont and its Neighbors (LIN4102.01)

Thomas Leddy-Cecere

The purpose of this course is twofold: to immerse students in the rich linguistic setting of Vermont and its immediate neighbors, and to introduce them to the basic methodologies of field research in sociolinguistics and related disciplines. Thematically, the course will consider language diversity at multiple scales, from the numerous languages used both presently and historically in New England, New York, and Quebec to aspects of linguistic variation between members the region’s wide community of English users. We will also become familiar with patterns of variability within the speech of individual Vermonters as they adapt to new situations, topics, and interlocutors. The course will be organized around the execution of a large-scale, collaborative field project in sociophonetics, through which students will be introduced to essential principles of experimental design in language research, the specific practice of the sociolinguistic interview, and modes of qualitative and quantitative analysis in the study of naturalistic language data. Throughout this process, we will highlight questions of language access and language equity, and devote attention to themes of inclusivity and scholarly ethics in the conduct and presentation of linguistic research.

Learning Outcomes:
1) Critically evaluate links between language, identity, and lived social experience for individuals and communities residing in Vermont and neighboring areas.
2) Apply theoretical and practical knowledge in the execution of sociolinguistic research, from perspectives of experimental design, data analysis, and ethical field practice.
3) Intentionally approach your own positionality and agency with regard to questions of language diversity, equity and access.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: LIN 2101, LIN 4105, or permission of the instructor. Interested students should contact the instructor, Thomas Leddy-Cecere ( to express interest.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
W 10:00AM - 11:50AM & W 2:10PM - 4:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , Cultural Studies and Languages , Sociolinguistics , Fully In-Person
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