Keywords: Sociolinguistics; Linguistic Anthropology; Cultural Studies; Language and Identity; Ethnicity; Race; Nationality; Language Ideologies; Indexicality; Style; Stance; Language/Dialect Contact; Variation; Embodiment; Ethnography; Fieldwork; Sociology of Language; Sociophonetics; Diminutive Morphology; English varieties; Greek varieties; Spanish varieties.
The main theme of my research concerns social differentiation and how social meaning is mapped onto linguistic variation via social practices. I address how social differentiation and categorization are achieved by exploring tensions with salience and awareness of linguistic features. I focus on how metapragmatic commentary discursively circulates language ideologies, and how these ideologies manifest in the variation of key features. These processes ultimately inform theoretical conceptualizations of salience of linguistic forms that contribute to understandings of speakers’ lived experience with language. Below are a few major areas where I consider
In February 2021, I started a position as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bern. Continuing my research on the Istanbul Greek dialect (described a bit below), I am focusing on ways members of the Istanbul Greek community use their linguistic resources (whether Greek or another language) to embody cosmopolitanism among other aspects related to their specific conceptualization of an Istanbul Greek identity. In addition to ethnography, I have conducted sociophonetic and discourse analyses, as well as run guise experiments to show how social meaning of linguistic features are embedded within and among communities based on lived experience.
I began my doctoral program at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. In 2016, I received the Stanley Prostrednik Memorial grant from the Nationality Rooms to do fieldwork in Turkey. I spent 11 weeks conducting ethnographic research on the endangered Greek dialect of Istanbul (of which I am a heritage speaker), and have been analyzing data from that amazing opportunity ever since. I later returned to Istanbul under the auspices of the Mellon Fellowship and spent another 8 weeks conducting ethnographic research and sociolinguistic interviews. The Istanbul Greek community is very special to me, and I hope to bring awareness to their complex situation.
I also had served as a program coordinator in Pitt in Greece in 2017, which was a really great experience. It allowed me to repeat my work from the previous summer, but with the Istanbul Greeks that have relocated in Athens in order to see how much of their language has changed. As a result, I have been looking at different types of social motivations for language change among members of the Istanbul Greek community.
Rhode Island English
As a native speaker of Rhode Island English who has relocated to other parts of the US, I've noticed that many unfamiliar with the variety mistake it as being either Bostonian or New Yorker. As a linguist, I've noticed a dearth of sociolinguistics studies focusing on this variety. As a side venture, I hope to soon document English as spoken in Rhode Island and see what features are salient to in- and out-group members, and how such features pattern in their variation and are circulated in discourse.
Along with my colleague, Sean Nonnenmacher, I have been studying the exponence of hypercorrected English coordinated pronouns in The Real Housewives using television corpus and stancetaking analysis. We have noticed that there is extensive variation in US English when it comes to pronoun usage, especially in coordinations such as "between you and me" and "between you and I." We also have noticed that many cast members of the different Real Housewives franchises tend to hypercorrect to using nominative pronouns when prescriptively accusative ones are expected. We assert that stylistic motivations for when the hypercorrect forms are used relate to presenting an embodied aspirational femininity.
As part of my MA in 2013, I conducted an investigation using online surveys related to perceptions of diminutive usage in Madrid. Although the majority of the Spanish-speaking world uses diminutives rather frequently, they tend to be restricted to women's and child-directed speech. I found that not only do Madrid Spanish speakers associate diminutives with women and children, but they also view men who use diminutives "excessively" to be effeminate or queer. Furthermore, diminutive usage is not just indirectly indexical of women's language, but rather shows how ideologies around sexuality form in part based on circulated discourses on gender and age (such as maturity, physical development, intellect, and so on). In 2020, I coauthored a paper on this topic with Dr. Matt Kanwit which was published in the Journal of Language & Sexuality. We have plans for more work down the line!
Ethnonyms in Minoritized Contexts
Building on my work with the Istanbul Greek community, I am interested in how minoritized speakers of different backgrounds navigate ethnic labeling in contexts such as stateless nations (e.g., Syriac Orthodox of Turkey choosing between Assyrian/Aramean) or panethnic affiliation (e.g., Hellenes/Romans for Istanbul Greeks or Latinx/Hispanic for those in the US). I plan to continue analyzing discourse to see how such terms are circulated and how linguistic variation is mapped onto such labels.