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Media Queries, Linguistics Experts, and Public Speakers on Language

This list of linguistics and language experts is intended for media or professional contacts only. It is not a source of first resort for everyday language questions, such as those which are easily answered by a good dictionary, a trip to the library, or a Google search.

The people listed below are happy to help journalists find or verify necessary facts, but please do NOT contact every person on this list with the same questions. Choose one or two who have the appropriate expertise and ALWAYS tell them whom else you are contacting, either from this list or from elsewhere. This will save much duplicate effort and allow your contacts to defer to someone with more expertise.

If you do not see an expert appropriate to your topic, please email, who can often recommend the best person to talk to from this list or elsewhere.

While this is list is not a speaker’s bureau, many of the people listed below are also available for public speaking engagements and would be happy to discuss giving a presentation, speech, or session at your upcoming conference or event.

NameAffiliationTopics and ExpertiseEmailPhone
Aaron J. DinkinUniversity of TorontoAmerican English dialects, especially upstate New York; sound change
Anne CurzanUniversity of Michiganword origins, history of the English language, language change, future of English, dictionariesemail734 936 2881
Ben ZimmerWall Street Journal (columnist), The Atlantic (contributing editor)slang, word origins, new words, neologisms, American speech, dictionaries, language and technology, political languageemail740 485 2105
Bethany K. DumasUniversity of Tennesseeapplied linguistics broadly defined, including forensic linguistics and educational and social applications of linguistic science, with focus on institutional language, particularly legal language; variation, regional and social, especially in American English; linguistic diversity and literacy; linguistic prejudice and discrimination; discourse analysisemail865 661 6671
Charles BobergDepartment of Linguistics, McGill Universityregional variation in North American English pronunciation and vocabulary, especially Canadian English, English spoken in Canadaemail514 748 9536
Connie EbleUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hillhistory of the English language, language issues in Louisiana and New Orleansemail919 967 7365; 919 962 0469
David Douglas Robertsonconsulting linguistpidgin English, Chinook (Chinook Jargon), language contact, Salish, American Indian Englishemail509 828 7344
David K. BarnhartBarnhart Dictionary Companionnew words (neologisms), trademarks, semantics, dictionaries, lexicographyemail845 489 0333
Dennis R. PrestonOklahoma State University, Michigan State University (emeritus)sociolinguistics, dialectology, dialects, folk linguistics, language variation, second language acquisitionemail 1, email 2home 405 564 0636, cell 405 269 7941
Edwin BattistellaSouthern Oregon Universitylanguage of public apologiesemail541 552 6620
Erik R. ThomasNorth Carolina State Universitysociophonetics, North American dialects, ethnic dialectsemail919 880 7809 (cell)
Frank NuesselUniversity of Louisvilleonomastics (study of names): personal names, place names, brand names, ageist terminologyemail502 852 0503
G. Burns CooperUniversity of Alaska Fairbanksforensic phonetics, sociophonetics, Alaskan Englishes, linguistic poeticsemail907 474 5303 (office), 907 669 8884 (cell)
Gerald CohenMissouri University of Science & Technologyetymology, especially of American slang, and the origin of terms such as "hot dog," "shyster," "eureka," "The Big Apple," "gung ho," "jazz," "namby-pamby"email573 341 4629
Grant BarrettA Way with Words, American Dialect Societynew words, neologisms, slang, language change, popular perceptions of language, dictionaries, dictionary, lexicography, political language, grammar, writing well, editingemail646 286 2260
Jack GrieveAston UniversityAmerican dialects, big data, corpus linguistics, forensic linguistics, grammatical variation, lexical variation, new words, slang, social mediaemail+44 (0) 121 204 3784
Jennifer CramerUniversity of Kentuckysociolinguistics, Southern English, Appalachian English, perceptions of languageemail859 257 6983
Jennifer NyczGeorgetown UniversityAmerican accents & dialects; mobility & accent/dialect change; accent change over the lifespan; acquiring new accents; shifting accents according to audience or topic; phoneticsemail202 687 5956
Jesse Sheidlowerpast president, American Dialect Society, (formerly) Oxford English Dictionaryslang, obscenity, neologisms, usage, definingemail917 620 2539
Joe AbrahamLouisiana State Universitygrammarian and editor; expert witness: contracts, statutes, policies, patents, etc.; fluent in slang and the language of rapemail225 262 0138
John BaughWashington University and Stanford Universitylinguistic discrimination, linguistic profiling, studies of linguistic variability, African American English, minority dialects in the United States, educational linguistics, linguistics and the law, forensic linguisticsemail650 520 3313
John Victor SinglerDepartment of Linguistics, New York Universitysociolinguistics, pidgins and creoles, history of African American English, New York City English, West African Englishesemail212 254 6495
Julie RobertsUniversity of VermontVermont speech, child dialect acquisition, sound change, prescriptivism rules and political considerationsemail802 373 8673
Kathryn RemlingerGrand Valley State University, Department of Englishdialect and identity in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, dialects and tourismemail626 331 3122
Katie CarmichaelVirginia Techsociolinguistics, language varieties in the American South, Louisiana language & culture, New Orleans English, Louisiana French, Cajun English, language attitudes about regional U.S. dialectsemail703 350 7904
Kirk HazenWest Virginia Universitylanguage and society, ethnic dialects, Appalachian English, Southern English, language and education, language changeemail304 293 9721
Lal ZimmanUniversity of California, Santa Barbaralanguage, gender, and sexuality; transgender identity; LGBT language issues; gay men’s voices; pronouns; gender norms; gender differences in the voice; coming out; sex reassignment / gender transition; speech therapyemail415 533 2202
Luanne von SchneidemesserSenior Editor, Distinguished Scientist Emerita, Dictionary of American Regional EnglishDictionary of American Regional English, dictionaries, German influence on American English, Wisconsin wordsemail608 233 3051, 608 556-8110
Lynne MurphyUniversity of Sussex (Brighton, UK), British vs. American blog "Separated by a Common Language"British versus American English, word meaning, politeness, dictionaries and thesauruses, opposites and synonymsemail+44-1273-678844
Malcah Yaeger-DrorUniversity of Arizonasociophonetics, dialect variation, variation in singing and broadcast styles, automated speech recognition, the influence of demographic characteristics and political choices on speech variation in the US, disagreement strategiesemail520 326 5747
Marianna Di PaoloDepartment of Anthropology & Department of Linguistics, University of Utahsociolinguistics, sociophonetics, Western American English (esp. Utah),
Texas English, Shoshoni/Gosiute, Tongan, language & the law/forensic
linguistics (focus on jury instructions)
email801 581 4389, 801 585 7611
Neil Alexander WalkerSan Joaquin Delta CollegeNative American languages, general linguisticsemail707 430 8802
Rebecca BabcockUniversity of Texas Permian Basinscript/screenplay consulting, language acquisition, Haitian Creole, discourse analysis, folk linguistics (folk beliefs about language) email432 552 2304
Salikoko S. MufweneUniversity of Chicago, Department of Linguisticsorigins of African American English; emergence of creoles and the evolution of European colonial languages in general, especially English and French; colonization, globalization and language from the point of view of language vitality/endangerment/loss; evolutionary emergence of language in mankind; ecology of languageemail773 702 8531 (office), 773 255 8887 (mobile)
Salvatore CallesanoUniversity of Texas at Austinsociolinguistics, language perceptions and attitudes, sociophonetic variation of Spanish (U.S. and abroad) and U.S. English, language in U.S. Latino communitiesemail603 387 2286
Sonja LanehartUniversity of Texas at San AntonioAfrican American language, Ebonics, language and identity, language and discrimination, sociolinguistics, African American literacies, critical race theory, educational linguistics, critical discourse analysis email210 458 6610
Stefan DollingerUniversity of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canadadialectology, historical linguistics, language and identity, lexicography, Canadian English, American English, Global Englishes, Austrian German, dictionariesemail604 822-4095
Twitter: @CanE_Lab
Tom PurnellUniversity of Wisconsin-Madisonsociophonetics; American English dialectology and substrate influences; ethnic and regional variation especially Maryland and Upper Midwestern Englishemail608 770 9441 (cell)
Toni J. MorrisUniversity of Indianapolis, Professor Emeritaearly English, history of the English language, word originsemail317 322 8494, 317 459 1963
Valerie FridlandUniversity of Nevada, Renosociolinguistics, American dialects, regional vowel shiftsemail775 784 7546
Walt WolframNorth Carolina State University William C. Friday Distinguished University Professorethnic dialects of American English (African American, American Indian, Latino), social dialects, American English dialectology, dialect recession and expansion, language revitalization, public sociolinguistic education, sociolinguistic engagement email919 515 4151