Erik Thomas

Erik Thomas

Tompkins 203
919/513-7385 (office)
erthomas at ncsu dot edu


Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, Linguistics, 1995

M.A., Texas A&M University, English, 1989

A.B., Duke University, Botany, 1988

Research Interests

Sociophonetics, Vowel quality, Prosody, Ethnic variation, Speech perception, Geographical variation, Sound change


Erik Thomas was born in December of 1965 in Columbus, Ohio, and grew up in Johnstown, Ohio. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Botany at Duke University in 1988, a Master of Arts Degree in English at Texas A&M University in 1989, and a Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin in 1995. He has been a faculty member in the linguistics concentration of the English Department at North Carolina State University since 1995. He and his wife Barbara Hunter have two children, Spencer and Jane.

Recent Publications


2011. Thomas, Erik R. Sociophonetics: An Introduction. Basingstoke, U.K./New York: Palgrave. 356 + xiv pp.

2010. Yaeger-Dror, Malcah, and Erik R. Thomas, eds. African American English Speakers and Their Participation in Local Sound Changes: A Comparative Study. Publication of the American Dialect Society 94. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 225 + viii pp.

2001. Thomas, Erik R. An Acoustic Analysis of Vowel Variation in New World English. Publication of the American Dialect Society 85. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

2002. Wolfram, Walt, and Erik R. Thomas. The Development of African American English. Language in Society 31. Oxford, UK/ Malden, MA: Blackwell.


In preparation. Thomas, Erik R. "Phonetic Analysis." Research Methods in Sociolinguistics. Ed. Janet Holms and Kirk A. Hazen. Oxford, U.K./Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

In preparation. Thomas, Erik R. "Prosodic Features of African American English." The Oxford Handbook of African American Language. Ed. Sonja L. Lanehart, Lisa Green, and Jennifer Bloomquist. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.

In preparation. Thomas, Erik R. "Social Factors and L1 Accents." Social Factors Influencing Second Language Pronunciation. Ed. John M. Levis. Berlin/New York: DeGruyter Mouton.

Forthcoming. Thomas, Erik R. "Sociophonetics." The Handbook of Language Variation and Change. Ed. J. K. Chambers and Natalie Schilling-Estes. 2nd ed. Oxford, UK/ Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Forthcoming. Thomas, Erik R., and Jeffrey Reaser. An Experiment on Cues Used for Identification of Voices as African American or European American. In Michael D. Picone and Catherine Evans Davies (eds.), Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press. 1037-71.

2011. Thomas, Erik R. "Mental Representation of Sociolinguistic Variables." Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science.

2011. Thomas, Erik R. "Collecting Data on Phonology." In April McMahon and Warren Maguire (eds.), Analysing Variation in English. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.

2010. Thomas, Erik R. "A Longitudinal Analysis of the Durability of the Northern/Midland Dialect Boundary in Ohio." American Speech 85.

2010. Thomas, Erik R., Norman J. Lass, and Jeannine Carpenter. "Identification of African American Speech." In Dennis R. Preston and Nancy Niedzielski (eds.), A Reader in Sociophonetics. Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 219. New York: De Gruyter Mouton. 265-85.

2010. Thomas, Erik R., and Alicia Beckford Wassink. "Regional Variation in African American English." In Dominic Watt and Carmen Llamas (eds.), Language and Identities. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 157-65.

2008. Thomas, Erik R. "Sociophonetic Methods for Studying Substratal Effects and New Dialect Formation." Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 123:3067.

2007. Thomas, Erik R. Phonological and Phonetic Characteristics of AAVE. Language and Linguistics Compass 1:450-75.

2007. Thomas, Erik R. “R in Southern Speech.” Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. 2nd ed. Oxford, MS: University of Mississippi Press.

2007. Thomas, Erik R. “Sociophonetics.” In Robert Bayley and Ceil Lucas (eds.), Sociolinguistic Variation: Theories, Methods, and Analysis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

2007. Moreton, Elliott, and Erik Thomas. "Origins of Canadian Raising in Voiceless-Coda Effects: A Case Study in Phonologization." Papers in Laboratory Phonology 9. Ed. Jennifer Cole and José Ignacio Hualde. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 36-74.

2006. Thomas, Erik R. “Evidence from Ohio on the Evolution of /æ/.” In Language Variation and Change in the American Midland: A New Look at “Heartland” English, ed. Thomas E. Murray and Beth Lee Simon. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 69-89.

2006. Thomas, Erik R., and Phillip M. Carter. "Rhythm and African American English." English World-Wide 27:331-55.

2005. Thomas, Erik R. “Cues Used for Distinguishing African American and European American Voices.” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 117:2458.

2005. Thomas, Erik R. “Rural White Southern Accents.” In Varieties of English: The Americas/Caribbean, ed. Edgar W. Schneider. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

2005. Thomas, Erik R. “Vowel Shifts and Vowel Mergers.” In Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd ed., ed. Keith Brown. Oxford, U.K.: Elsevier.

Complete CV

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ENG 210: Introduction to Language and Linguistics
ENG 324: Modern English
ENG 325: Spoken and Written Traditions of American English Dialects
ENG 326: History of English
ENG 524: Introduction to Linguistics
ENG 525: Variety in Language
ENG 528: Language Change Research Seminar

Course Syllabi

See the courses page for sample syllabi from courses in years past.



Awards and Honors


Co-PI, National Science Foundation Grant BCS 0542139, "Old and New Ethnic

Dialect Configuration in the American South"

National Science Foundation Grant BCS-0213941, "Socio-Phonetic Cues Differentiating African American and European American Voices" 2002-04

Awards for Beginning Academics, National Science Foundation, 1998-99

Faculty Research and Professional Development Grant, North Carolina State University, 1996-97