NCSU Linguistics Program | Dialect Education

Voices of North Carolina Dialect Awareness Curriculum

Skip to the download page to download the teacher's manual or student workbook.

Watch a Webinar on teaching the curriculum.

The multimedia Voices of North Carolina dialect awareness curriculum was developed by NC State faculty members Jeffrey Reaser and Walt Wolfram in 2005 and updated in 2007. The culmination of Wolfram’s work in the public schools over the past twenty years, Voices of North Carolina is the first state-based curriculum on language variation in the country.

Excerpt from Students Workbook
An excerpt from the Student Workbook.

It is designed to help teachers better meet the standard course of study for 8th grade social studies and it is endorsed by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The curriculum is designed to be teachable by teachers without any background in linguistics. The curriculum was proven to be highly successful in pilot runs in Johnston County, NC, and in Ocracoke, NC.


Major topics include:

  • Language attitudes
  • Style shifting
  • Dialect patterns
  • Language change in rural and urban settings
  • The connections between history, culture, and language
  • Regional dialects in NC including Outer Banks English and Appalachian English
  • Social dialects including Cherokee, Lumbee English, African American English, Spanish and Latino English


The curriculum goals are:

  1. To develop a respect for the systematic patterning of all language varieties
  2. To develop an appreciation for the link between historical development and language
  3. To develop an awareness and appreciation for the connection between language and culture
  4. To gain authentic knowledge about how dialects pattern
  5. To develop an awareness and appreciation of other ways of speaking


Teacher testimonial:
“Thanks for such an edifying experience in teaching the dialect unit. I really think the students got a lot out of it (not the least of which was the challenging of a lot of stereotypes they might have had that are tied to language). I know it was enlightening for me and I truly enjoyed it.”

- Leatha Fields-Carey, Johnston County, NC


For more information, watch this webinar about using the curriculum.