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July 6, 2020

Blog Update + Black Linguists

As the protests in the United States to end police brutality against the Black community continue, I have been thinking about ways in which linguistics can interact with anti-Black racism. Linguistics is pretty White, and the world of linguistics blogging is also very White. I wanted to introduce my readers to some scholars and writers on linguistics whose work I admire. Most of them are on Twitter as opposed to having their own blogs (blogging being increasingly niche nowadays), but if you're not a Twitter person, don't worry - I have linked to examples of their work that you can read off-Twitter.

Kelly Wright (@raciolinguistic). She does a lot of work on experimental sociolinguistics and racial ideologies. This paper shows how sports journalism tends to associate certain fixed phrases with black athletes versus white athletes.

Nicole Holliday (@mixedlinguist) also does sociolinguistic work. This pop article she wrote on Blackness within the context of Beyonce's Formation was an inspiration for this blog!

Some of you may be familiar with the concept of white-centrism and Native Speaker-ism in ESL, but if you're not, then you should read JPB Gerald's paper on how it affects people teaching English abroad.

April Baker Bell (@aprilbakerbell) has a book out called "Linguistic Justice: Black Language, Literacy, Identity, and Pedagogy" which I'm very excited to read! You can also read one of her older pieces here, where she talks about how the assumption that Black American students must be taught White-coded American English to "avoid discrimination" is misguided.

Rachel Elizabeth Weissley (@rachelawiselure) does work on neurolinguistics and sociolinguistics. She has several of her papers available at her own site, including this very interesting one about listeners of different dialects react to African American grammatical constructions.

Duane G Watson ( does research on an area of linguistics that sorely needs more attention - prosody. He takes a psycholinguistic approach to prosody and intonation. Several of his articles are available on his website if you send a quick email.

Kendra Calhoun (@_kendracalhoun) studies the intersection of language and social media. Her thesis on the use and perception of the meanings of "literally" is a look at how young people can also reinforce prescriptivist ideals.

Michel DeGraff (@MichelDeGraff) is a professor of linguistics at MIT and studies the syntax and morphology of Haitian Creole, as well as pedagogical and political use of Creole in Haiti. If you are interested in the formation of Creole languages, you may want to check out this paper.

Anne Charity Hudley (@ACharityHudley) is a variationist sociolinguist with an emphasis on education. Her book, Understanding English variation in Schools, is designed to guide teachers through working with a multicultural classroom.

If you are on Twitter, I also recommend following @Yohimar, @mnpgrue, and @_ravensnest!

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