Applied Sociolinguistics

I have a deep commitment to finding practical applications of linguistics, what I sometimes call “Applied Sociolinguistics.” In my own research (on improvisational theater, peace vigils, and tourism in Costa Rica), professional projects (e.g. the companion website for McNeill Lehrer’s documentary Do You Speak American?), and teaching (this Spring I am teaching a professionalization seminar for MLC students), I bring together my academic training with past professional experiences (i.e. as an analyst at Goldman Sachs & Co).  In mentoring MLC students through career exploration and developing their research agendas involving professional applications of linguistics,  I have been able to draw from my own experience in applying linguistics, including my work as a researcher as part of the documentary film project Do You Speak American? for which project I served as part of an interdisciplinary team (of teachers, writers, and members of the media) to develop accessible web-based resource materials about language and culture in the United States for the companion website to the film.

About Discourse Analysis
Discourse Analysis helps us get at what speakers DO with language.
Discourse analysis involves the detailed transcription and analysis of recorded spoken interaction.  Through discourse analysis, researchers focus on how speakers use language to present information and how hearers draw inferences from what is said about the speaker’s communicative intention. Some of the issues addressed can include how particular ways of speaking (choice of words, sentence forms, and prosody (intonation, rhythm, pitch) convey subtle features of messages; how language conveys ‘who did what, when, where, why, and how.’  Speakers do things with language like creating and maintaining relationships and conveying and communicating shared norms and values.


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