North Carolina Language and Life Project
 

The North Carolina Language and Life Project

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About the Project

Outside in Princeville

North Carolina is one of the most linguistically diverse states in the United States, reflecting a wide variety of regional and sociocultural English dialects as well as an assortment of ancestral and immigrant languages. This natural linguistic diversity raises a number of empirical questions about the nature of language variation and its social and educational implications for students, the citizens of North Carolina, and the general public.

The North Carolina Language and Life Project (NCLLP) was established at North Carolina State University in 1993 to focus on research, graduate and undergraduate education, and outreach programs related to language in the American South. The goals of the NCLLP are:

  1. to gather basic research information about language varieties in order to understand the nature of language variation and change;
  2. to document language varieties in North Carolina and beyond as they reflect varied cultural traditions;
  3. to provide information about language differences for public and educational interests;
  4. to use research material for the improvement of educational programs about language and culture.

Impact

A few impacts of our work include:

Storyteller Orville Hicks
  • A growing collection of more than 1,500 recorded sociolinguistic interviews
  • The development of new technologies for language analysis and preservation
  • The establishment of an extensive program of community-based sociolinguistic research that includes linguistic descriptions of Outer Banks English, African American English, Southern Appalachian English, Native American English, and Hispanic English
  • The development of an innovative graduate studies program that uniquely combines theoretical, descriptive, and applied sociolinguistic study
  • The production of local, statewide, and national TV documentaries on language variation in North Carolina and on particular dialects that include Outer Bank English, Appalachian English, Lumbee English, and Hispanic English
  • The production of CD collections of local narratives and published trade books on particular varieties of English
  • The construction of museum exhibits for local communities and for the citizens of and visitors to North Carolina
  • The development of a dialect awareness curriculum for middle school students in social studies and language arts throughout the state
  • Workshops and presentations on language diversity for practitioners, civic organizations, and the general public