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Kelly Elizabeth Wright

Kelly Elizabeth Wright, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Kelly Elizabeth Wright, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Kelly Elizabeth Wright, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Department of English
419 Shanks Hall 
180 Turner Street, NW 
Blacksburg, VA 24061

I am an experimental sociolinguist, lexicographer, and advocate for Linguistic Justice. I approach the project of disabling institutionalized racism by gathering linguistic data across a number of domains; I fight with fact, ever-confident in the overwhelming power of empirical validity. I value interdisciplinarity and apply mixed methodologies to research questions and experimental design, pedagogical and administrative challenges, and public scholarship and community engagement.

Currently, I am researching perceptions of Black professionalism, both within the community, through my newly developed metalinguistic method for sociolinguistic interview, and in the U.S. population at large, through sociophonetic experimentation. In press at Language is a project on linguistic profiling in the housing market, looking specifically at how property managers perceive racial and regional identities, link those percepts to character traits, and how those ideas about speakers shape access and opportunity for minorities. Previously, my research has examined Language Planning and Policy; reification of racist ideology through popular print media; and Sociosemantic Field development and change over time.

​​I serve as co-editor of American Speech's Among The New Words column; as The American Dialect Society's New Words Committee's Data Czar; on the Oxford English Dictionary Researchers Advisory Group; and as a Linguistic Society of America Media Liaison. I served for three years as Editor's Assistant for the journal Language. I also serve on the steering committee of  The North American Research Network in Historical Sociolinguistics (NARNiHS), which works to increase the visibility of historical sociolinguistics as a discipline in North America and the connectedness of researchers in this hemisphere. 

  • Experimental Sociolinguistics
  • Sociophonetics
  • Lexicography
  • Historical Sociolinguistics
  • The Metalinguistic Method of Sociolinguistic Interview
  • Corpus Linguistics
  • Machine Learning
  • Network Analysis 
  • Linguistic Justice
  • Public Scholarship
  • Lexical Racialization
  • Identity Perception
  • Sociosemantic Change
  • Institutionalized Linguistic Discrimination
  • Language and Sport
  • Language and Media
  • Language and Law
  • Language and Policy
  • Metalinguistic Knowledge
  • Usage-based Linguistics
  • Scholar-Activism
  • Ph.D., Linguistics, University of Michigan - Department of Linguistics, 2022
  • M.A., Linguistic Theory and Typology, University of Kentucky - Department of Linguistics, 2017
  • B.A., English Literature, Maryville College - Department of English, 2014
  • A.S., Associate of Sciences, Pellissippi State Community College - Knoxville, TN, 2012
  • Interdisciplinary Language Sciences Program Curriculum Committee
  • University of Victoria, Lansdowne Visiting Scholar, 2021-2022 
  • Linguistic Society of America, August 2021 Member Spotlight
  • University of Michigan, Mellon Fellowship for Publicly Engaged Humanities, 2019
  • University of Michigan, Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society, 2020
  • University of Michigan, Rackham Scholar-Activist Award, 2019 


Journal Articles

Craft, J., K. E. Wright, R. E. Weissler, & R. M. Queen (2020) “Language and Discrimination: Generating Meaning, Perceiving Identities, and Discriminating Outcomes” Annual Review of Linguistics Vol 6: 389-407.

Wright, K. (2017) “Accounting for Vox Populi: Adjusting the Cost-Benefit Model of Language Planning by Incorporating Network Analysis in the Ghanaian Context” in Micheli, I. ed. Cultural and Linguistic Transition Explored Università di Trieste: 2017. Print.

Zimmer, B.G., K.E. Wright, Hughes, B. & C. Carson (2022) “Among the New Words” American Speech (2022) 97 (2): 197-214.

Hughes, B., B.G. Zimmer, K.E. Wright, & C. Carson (2022) “Among the New Words” American Speech (2022) 97(1): 69-90.

Zimmer, B.G., K.E. Wright, & C. Carson (2021) “Among the New Words” American Speech (2021) 96(3): 371-385.

Zimmer, B.G., K.E. Wright, & C. Carson (2021) “Among the New Words” American Speech (2021) 96(2): 217-234.

Zimmer, B.G., K.E. Wright, & C. Carson (2021) “Among the New Words” American Speech (2021) 96(1): 105-123.

Mellon Fellowship for Publicly-engaged Humanities

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