Language & Identity in the New South

2021 ~ Present | DILAC, Dr. Jon Forrest, Assistant Professor of Linguistics (UGA)


This VIP offers data to understand English as spoken by diverse populations in Georgia.  We produce academic articles and presentations about regional and ethnic language variation; change over time; and accents as signifiers of identity and attitudes.  Students develop skills in human subjects research, sociolinguistic theory, phonetic measurements, statistics, data science, and academic literacy.   The team fosters a welcoming socio-intellectual community and a growth mindset, encouraging humanities-confident students to learn technical tools and inviting computing-confident students to appreciate the social richness of language data.

Issues Involved or Addressed

Language, politics, society, linguistics, psychology, demographics, speech. With approval from the Georgia Tech IRB, we are building an audio corpus of the speech of over 180 young adults who grew up in Georgia, from which we measure the position of the tongue in the mouth when producing vowels in order to quantify sociolinguistic variation in accents across individuals and over time. Our participants are all young adult college students who grew up in Georgia, but they are diverse with respect to gender, ethnicity, hometown, and their attitudes towards the South.  It's been argued that the "southern accent" is losing ground to a new pan-regional, pan-ethnic sound system known as the "Low Back Merger Shift."  We explore the extent to which different people use these different vowel systems as a function of their demographic traits and ideological orientations.

Methods and Technologies

  • Praat (phonetics software)
  • Qualtrics
  • Mechanical Turk
  • Python
  • R

Academic Majors of Interest

  • ComputingAlgorithms, Combinatorics and Optimization
  • ComputingAnalytics
  • ComputingComputational Media
  • ComputingComputational Science and Engineering
  • ComputingComputer Science
  • ComputingCybersecurity
  • ComputingHuman-Centered Computing
  • ComputingHuman-Computer Interaction
  • DesignArchitectural Technology
  • DesignArchitecture
  • DesignBuilding Construction
  • DesignBuilding Construction and Facility Management
  • DesignCity and Regional Planning
  • DesignGeographic Information Science and Technology
  • DesignIndustrial Design
  • DesignMusic Technology
  • DesignUrban Design
  • EngineeringAerospace Engineering
  • EngineeringApplied Systems Engineering
  • EngineeringBioengineering
  • EngineeringBioinformatics
  • EngineeringBiomedical Engineering
  • EngineeringChemical Engineering
  • EngineeringChemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • EngineeringCivil Engineering
  • EngineeringComputer Engineering
  • EngineeringElectrical Engineering
  • EngineeringEnvironmental Engineering
  • EngineeringHealth Systems
  • EngineeringIndustrial Engineering
  • EngineeringInternational Logistics
  • EngineeringMachine Learning
  • EngineeringMaterials Science and Engineering
  • EngineeringMechanical Engineering
  • EngineeringMedical Physics
  • EngineeringRobotics
  • Ivan AllenApplied Languages and Intercultural Studies
  • Ivan AllenChinese
  • Ivan AllenDigital Media
  • Ivan AllenEconomics
  • Ivan AllenEconomics and International Affairs
  • Ivan AllenFrench
  • Ivan AllenGerman
  • Ivan AllenGlobal Economics and Modern Languages
  • Ivan AllenGlobal Media and Cultures
  • Ivan AllenHistory, Technology, and Society
  • Ivan AllenInternational Affairs
  • Ivan AllenInternational Affairs and Modern Languages
  • Ivan AllenInternational Affairs, Science, and Technology
  • Ivan AllenJapanese
  • Ivan AllenKorean
  • Ivan AllenLiterature, Media, and Communication
  • Ivan AllenPublic Policy
  • Ivan AllenSpanish
  • OtherEducation
  • OtherEntrepreneurship
  • OtherFilm and Media Studies
  • OtherMusic
  • OtherPre-Law
  • Physics
  • SciencesApplied Physics
  • SciencesApplied Physiology
  • SciencesBiochemistry
  • SciencesBiology
  • SciencesChemistry
  • SciencesEarth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • SciencesMathematics
  • SciencesNeuroscience
  • SciencesPhysics
  • SciencesPsychology
  • SciencesStatistics

Preferred Interests and Preparation

Language / Society / Politics

Experience with or willingness to learn qualitative and quantitative data analysis skills.

Completion of LING 2100 (Intro to Linguistics) not a strict requirement.


Meeting Schedule & Location

Meeting Location 
Van Leer 465
Meeting Day 

Team Advisors

Dr. Lelia Glass

Partner(s) and Sponsor(s)

DILAC, Dr. Jon Forrest, Assistant Professor of Linguistics (UGA)

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