Author Archives: LingEducator

About LingEducator

Dr. Jaclyn Ocumpaugh received a PhD for her dissertation on regional variation in the acoustics of Mexican American English (Michigan State University, East Lansing). Before that, she received an MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University for her work on the acoustics of /r/--a sound which is highly variable in the English language. Her passion, however, has always been to understand the social implications of language variation. In addition to her work in acoustic sociophonetics, she has worked with rape trial analysis, developed cognitive methods for understanding discourse level variation between men and women, and created sophisticated tools for teaching future educators about the kinds of dialect variation they will find in the classroom. She has taught classes in English, Linguistics, and Education at Old Dominion University, William & Mary, the University of Mary Washington, and Virginia Wesleyan College. She is currently a Post Doctoral Fellow of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is helping to develop models of student engagement in the classroom. She also consults in the private sector.

Language News: “Academic Ignorance and Black Intelligence” Labov’s 1972 Atlantic Article

At one point, grammar was the center of education (think of the term “grammar school”), but we seem to have fallen from grace.  Today, linguist are more than a little horrified by what passes for grammar education in this country: … Continue reading

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Language Fun: The Eggcorn Database

Eggcorn is a linguistic term coined by Dr. Geoffrey Pullum (a linguist who is often featured on the Language Log and the Chronicle of Higher Education).  It refers to an idiosyncratic, pun-like back-formation of a word, such as “eggcorn” for … Continue reading

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Resources: Reconstructing American Tongues

In 1988, the Center for New Media produced American Tongues.  Since then, this Peabody-Award-winning documentary, which highlights the range of language variation in the United States, has been a staple in American linguistic classes.  Even now, when the average 18 … Continue reading

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Tools: Sign Linguistics Corpora Network

Computer-aided technology has allowed considerable corpus research in linguistics that would not have been available just a few decades ago.  However, many of these corpora are geared towards written language.  Corpora for spoken and singed languages require considerably more effort … Continue reading

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Tools: “Do-It-Yourself” State Maps

“Do-It-Yourself” State Maps. Texas A&M offers a website that might be useful for those who do geographically-based sociolinguistic research.  The link above takes you to this site, which allows you to build your own state map, modifying it to suit … Continue reading

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Resources: Ambiguous English Pronouns and Prescribed Reading

Many prescriptivists fear that the use of singular they  (as in, “A student should take their time when considering prescriptive rules.”) is incredibly problematic.  They are dissatisfied with the lack of plural agreement, though evidence suggests that the traditionally prescribed … Continue reading

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Resources: Origins of Nursery Rhymes

A culture’s stories can tell you a lot about their values.  Sometimes these are transparent, sometimes they require a deeper understanding of subversive story telling practices.  Many people don’t realize how many English nursery rhymes have (often disasterous) political origins. … Continue reading

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Resources: Americas Highway | Oral Histories of Route 66 – Google Maps

No guarantees about sound quality, but an interesting collection of oral histories complete with a map of where they were collected along the historic Route 66 is now available online.  For your sociolinguistic pleasure: Americas Highway: Oral Histories of Route … Continue reading

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Language News: The Subtleties of Marketing Beer to Latinos

Quite often, news-stories about beer commercials focus on the objectification of women.  While such objectification is certainly an important topic, the meta-discussion of beer commercials on NPR last August offered a refreshingly new topic: the ethnic patterns of beer marketing.  As … Continue reading

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Conferences: VirginiA Language, Linguistics, and Education (VALLE)

Students at George Mason University are hosting a conference next spring. VALLE: VirginiA Language, Linguistics, and Education symposium. Details are forthcoming, but save the date! Friday, April 27, 2012

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