Abby Walker is an associate professor of linguistics in the English Department at Virginia Tech, and director of The Speech Lab at Virginia Tech.
Her work investigates the ways in which individuals change their speech in the moment (depending on who they are talking to or what they are talking about) and over time (because of changes in their community, or because they change communities); the mechanisms behind cross-dialectal speech perception; and the social evaluation of language. Her work pulls from sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics and phonetics, and although her work primarily looks at different dialects of English, she has recent collaborative projects on Korean and Spanish.
- Language cognition
- Cross-dialectal communication
- Language and social meaning
- Ph.D. in Linguistics, The Ohio State University, 2014
- M.A. in Linguistics, University of Canterbury 2008
- B.A. (Hons) in Linguistics (Minor in Classics), University of Canterbury 2006
- Director, Language Sciences Program, Department of English Virginia Tech
- Co-Director, The Speech Lab at Virginia Tech
- Faculty Co-Advisor, The Undergraduate Linguistics Club at Virginia Tech
- Associate Editor, The Journal of Laboratory Phonology
- Certificate of Teaching Excellence, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech, 2019.
- Holliday, Jeffrey, Abby Walker, Mihyun Jung & Esther Cho (2023). “Bringing indexical orders to non-arbitrary meaning: The case of pitch and politeness in English and Korean.” Laboratory Phonology, 14(1).
- Hargrave, Rachel, Amy Southall and Abby Walker (2022). “Differences in final /z/ realization in Southwest and Northern Virginia.” American Speech, 97(3):311-344.
- Walker, Abby (2020). “Voiced stops in the command performance of Southern US English. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America,” 147:1, 606-615.
- Walker, Abby (2019). “The role of dialect experience in topic-based shifts in speech production.” Language Variation and Change, 31(2): 135-163.
- Hay, Jennifer, Abby Walker, Kauyumari Sanchez & Kirsty Thompson (2019). “Abstract social categories facilitate access to socially skewed words.” PLOS ONE, pone.0210793: 1–29.
- Walker, Abby (2018). “The effect of long-term second dialect exposure on sentence transcription in noise.” Journal of Phonetics, 71: 162–176.
- Walker, Abby, Jennifer Hay, Katie Drager & Kauyumari Sanchez (2018). “Divergence in speech perception.” Linguistics, 56(1): 257–278.
- Mitchell, David, Marivic Lesho & Abby Walker (2017). “Folk perception of African American English regional variation.” Journal of Linguistic Geography, 5(1): 1–16.
- Clopper, Cynthia & Abby Walker (2017). “Effects of lexical competition and dialect exposure on phonological priming.” Language and Speech, 60(1): 85–109.
- Walker Abby, & Kathryn Campbell-Kibler (2015). “Repeat what after whom? Exploring variable selectivity in a cross-dialectal shadowing task.” Frontiers in Psychology, 6(546): 1–18.
- Hay, Jennifer, Janet Pierrehumbert, Abby Walker & Patrick LaShell (2015). “Tracking word frequency effects through 130 years of sound change.” Cognition, 139: 83–91.
- Walker, Abby (2014). “The role of syntax in rating voices and voices in rating syntax in New Zealand English.” New Zealand English Journal, 28: 21–42.
- Walker, Abby, Christina García, Yomi Cortés & Kathryn Campbell-Kibler (2014). “Comparingsocial meanings across listener and speaker groups: the indexical field of Spanish /s/.” Language Variation and Change, 26: 169–189.
- Love, Jessica & Abby Walker (2013). “Football versus football: Effect of topic on /r/ realization in American and English sports fans.” Language and Speech, 56(4): 443–460.
- Wanjema, Shontael, Katie Carmichael, Abby Walker, & Kathryn Campbell-Kibler (2013). “The OhioSpeaks Project: Engaging undergraduates in sociolinguistic research.” American Speech, 88(2): 223–235.
- Hay, Jennifer, Abby Walker, Jayne McKenzie, & Daniel Nielsen (2012). “The changing realization of ‘the’ before vowels in New Zealand English.” New Zealand English Journal, 26: 23–32.
- Walker, Abby & Jennifer Hay (2011). “Congruence between ‘word age’ and ‘voice age’ facilitates lexical access.” Laboratory Phonology, 1(2): 219–237.
- Drager, Katie, Jennifer Hay, & Abby Walker (2010). “Pronounced rivalries: Attitudes and speech production.” Te Reo, 53: 27–53.
- Walker, Abby & Alexander McAllister (expected 2023). “(Un)Varied Experiences: How exposure to variability impacts speech perception. In M. Diaz-Campos & S. Balasch (eds.),” The Handbook of Usage-Based Linguistics. John Wiley & Sons.
- Walker, Abby, Katie Drager & Jennifer Hay (2022). “The use of priming in language attitudes research.” In L. Zipp & R. Kircher (eds.), Research Methods in Language Attitudes, pp. 313-329, Cambridge University Press.
- 2023-2026. National Science Foundation. $271,289 for Collaborative Research: Every participant counts: Investigating the impact of experimental language research on participants (BCS 2315040, with Charlotte Vaughn ($147,672 to PI Walker))
- 2021-2024. National Science Foundation. $445,360 for Collaborative Research: Listening out for variation: An investigation of mono- and bidialectal listeners in the U.S. (BCS 2041264, with Janet van Hell ($116,873 to PI Walker))
- 2023. Joint Support, Institute for Society, Culture and Arts (ISCE) and Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology (ICAT), Virginia Tech. $22,000 for The Voices of Voice Assistants (with Myounghoon Jeon, Kouen Choi, Sheila Klauer and Sang Won Lee)
- 2017. ISCE Scholars Grant, Institute for Society, Culture and Arts (ISCE), Virginia Tech. $30,000 towards study on the neuropsychology of cross-dialectal communication (with Mike Bowers)
- National Science Foundation (BCS 1530780); Co-PI with Katie Carmichael ($31,367 toward costs of hosting international conference, 2015–2017 on Sociolinguistic Variation and Language Processing (SVALP))
- ENGL 1504: Introduction to Linguistics
- ENGL 1514: Language and Society
- ENGL 2034: Analyzing the Sounds of Language
- ENGL/WGS 3134: Gender and Linguistics
- ENGL/PSYC 2034: Language and the Mind
- ENGL 4074: English Syntax
- ENGL 4084: Conducting Research in the Language Sciences
Walker’s lab group consists of undergraduate research assistants who meet regularly to help her collect and process data, learn more about conducting research, and sometimes collaborate with her on team projects. Students have presented this work at local and national conferences. Undergraduates interested in joining the lab should contact Walker about openings.
Recent Products from Lab Collaborations
(* Indicates VT Undergraduate Author)
- Holliday, Jeffrey, Abby Walker, Mihyun Jung & Esther Cho* (2023). “Bringing indexical orders to non-arbitrary meaning: The case of pitch and politeness in English and Korean.” Laboratory Phonology, 14(1).
- Bowen, Adam*, Kenza Kadiri*, Caleigh Hampton*, Charlotte Koogle*, Sherree Ann Shuler* and Abby Walker (2023). “‘Totally different dialect altogether’: Perceptions of linguistic variation within Southwest Virginia.” Paper presented at the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics (SECOL), Oxford, MS, March 9-11.
- Lopez, Andres*, Casey Branson*, Sara Carter* and Abby Walker (2023). “Has your accent changed a LOT? Phonetic and phonological second dialect acquisition of in Englishspeaking migrants.” Paper presented at the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics (SECOL), Oxford, MS, March 9-11.
- Hargrave, Rachel*, Amy Southall* and Abby Walker (2022). “Differences in final /z/ realization in Southwest and Northern Virginia.” American Speech, 97(3):311-344.
- Yu, Jessie*, Molly Purtill*, Lily Carroll*, Sara Carter*, Jessica Taylor* & Abby Walker (2022). “Ideologies of Intelligibility Onscreen: The sociolinguistics of intralingual subtitling.” University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 28 (2).
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