Interview with William Labov

  title={Interview with William Labov},
  author={Matthew J. Gordon},
  journal={Journal of English Linguistics},
  pages={332 - 351}
  • M. Gordon
  • Published 1 December 2006
  • Education
  • Journal of English Linguistics
EJ: How did you become interested in linguistic studies? WL: I used to be a chemist and I worked in industry. I was attracted by an area where you could begin to develop something close to scientific principles in relation to language. My own view is that linguistics is not a science but that we're getting closer to it. Very few social sciences have solved the relationship between theory and practice. Most people feel that this is a one-way process. A group of theorists think up an idea and… 

The Development of sC Onset Clustersin Interlanguage: Markedness vs. Frequency Effects

The concept of markedness, as it is recognized today, has its origin in phonology, most notably in the work of Trubetzkoy (1939). After the advent of generative linguistic theory in the 1960s and its

The analysis of languages in contact: A case study through a variationist lens

This article discusses the contributions made by variationist sociolinguistics to the study of languages in contact. After summarizing the development of this subfield and its theoretical and


The article presents the application of sociolinguistic methods of language study. The proposed research aimed at analyzing the functions of the Austrian variant of the German language in public

The Optimization of Codas via Onset-Nucleus Sharing

The study provides evidence for an intermediate developmental stage in the acquisition of English codas by BP speakers, characterized by the phenomenon of Onset-Nucleus Sharing (ONS), and assumes that the potential coda syllabifies as an onset and some of its features spread into the following empty nucleus (N) in order to optimize the syllable shape of the emerging grammar.

Phonological leveling, diffusion, and divergence: /t/ lenition in Liverpool and its hinterland

Abstract This paper examines the phonological leveling and diffusion of variants of /t/ in Liverpool, northwest England, and two localities in its hinterland. We show that lenited realizations of

Life Span Extension Research and Public Debate: Societal Considerations

The pace of a given strand of scientific research, whether purely curiosity-driven or motivated by a particular technological goal, is strongly influenced by public attitudes towards its value. In

Onset-Nucleus Sharing and the Acquisition of Second Language Codas: A Stochastic Optimality Theoretic Account*

.  The study provides a stochastic optimality theoretic account for the acquisition of word-final voiceless stops (codas) in the developing grammar of Brazilian Portuguese (BP) speakers learning

Progress in Regression : Why Natural Language Data Calls For Mixed-Effects Models

Natural language data – sociolinguistic, historical, and other types of corpora – should not be analyzed with fixed-effects regression models, such as VARBRUL and GoldVarb use. This is because tokens

A critique of the principle of error correction as a theory of social change

Abstract This article assesses the historical failures and limits of the dominant ‘error correction’ approach within sociolinguistics. The error correction approach supposes that social change can be

Spinning Tales About Japanese Cotton Spinning: Saxonhouse (1974) Then and Now

This essay provides a perspective on the intellectual context of the late Gary Saxonhouse’s first scholarly publication, which appeared in the Journal of Economic History in 1974, a study of the



Objectivity and commitment in linguistic science: The case of the Black English trial in Ann Arbor *

ABSTRACT Though many linguists have shown a strong concern for social issues, there is an apparent contradiction between the principles of objectivity needed for scientific work and commitment to

The social stratification of English in New York City

Part I. Problems and Methods of Analysis: 1. The study of language in its social context 2. First approach to the structure of New York City English 3. The social stratification of English in New

The atlas of North American English : phonetics, phonology and sound change : a multimedia reference tool

The Atlas of North American English re-defines the regional dialects of American English on the basis of sound changes active in the 1990s and draws new boundaries reflecting those changes.

Principles Of Linguistic Change

si’ Clauses (Buenos Aires Spanish)

  • Unpublished doctoral dissertation,
  • 2003

Understanding Birmingham

  • Language Variety in the South
  • 1997

Phonological Change and Variation in the Dialect of Charleston

  • 2006