Mary Elizabeth Kohn

Hello! I am a fifth year student in linguistics with an interest in
language variation and change. I currently work on several research
endeavors including the the Frank Porter Graham Project and the
Southeast Raleigh Project. Through my research I hope to create a better
understanding of how children's accents change during the school years,
and how cultural geographic factors interface with trajectories of
language change. The broad goal of this type of research is to provide
insight into the intersection of language and society in order to understand
how and why language changes over time. A more immediate goal for such
research is to increase understanding of language diversity, which
will hopefully assist educators, speech pathologists, and test designers in
creating equitable learning environments, interventions, and assessment tools.

  • PhD, Linguistics (UNC, in progress)
  • Masters, English with a concentration in Sociolinguistics (NCSU, 2008)
  • Bachelors, English and Spanish (Appalachian State, 2001)

  • Child and Adolescent Development Across the Ethnolinguistic Divide
Research interests:
  • Language Variation and Change
  • Sociophonetics
Current Projects:
  • African American English vowels, a longitudinal perspective.
  • An exploratory study of vowels in Raleigh, NC. Headed by Robin Dodsworth.
  • Vowel normalization: How effective are normalization techniques when used with child data?
Complete CV:
Link to complete CV

Select Conference Papers, Works in Progress, and Publications:
Feel free to e-mail me if you would like manuscripts for unpublished papers or powerpoints for the conference talks listed below.
  • Forthcoming. Wolfram, Walt, and Mary Kohn. Regionality in the development of African American Language. The Oxford Handbook of African American Language (OHAAL) Ed. by S. Lanehart, L. Green, and J. Bloomquist. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Forthcoming. Wolfram, Walt, Janneke Van Hofwegen, Jenn Renn, and Mary Kohn. Trajectories of development in AAE: The first seventeen years. Proceedings of the Conference on African American Language in Popular Culture: Intersections among Language, Education, Music, Media, and Sports. Ed. by Sonja Lanehart.

  • Forthcoming. Dodsworth, Robin, and Mary Kohn. Dialect contact in a southern U.S. city: Testing Trudgill’s model. Cognitive Sociolinguistics. Ed. by M. Putz, Monika Reif, and J. Robinson. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. link to abstract

  • 2012. Dodsworth, Robin, and Mary Kohn. Urban rejection of the vernacular: The SVS undone. Language Variation and Change. 24(2): 221-245. link to article

  • 2012. Kohn, Mary and Charlie Farrington. Speaker normalization: Evidence from longitudinal child data. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 131(3): 2237-2248. link to article

  • 2011. Kohn, Mary, and Charlie Farrington. The socio-regional distribution of African American vowel systems in Piedmont, North Carolina. Paper presented at NWAV 40: New Ways of Analyzing Language Variation. Georgetown. link to abstract

  • 2011. Wolfram, Walt, Mary Kohn, Erin Price-Callahan. Southern-bred Hispanic English: An emerging socioethnic variety. Selected Proceedings of the fifth Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. link to article

  • 2010. Kohn, Mary, Charlie Farrington, and David Ethier. The more things change, the more (some) things stay the same: A longitudinal analysis of the vowel spaces in childhood and adolescent African American English. Paper presented at NWAV 39: New Ways of Analyzing Language Variation. San Antonio, TX. link to abstract

  • 2009. Dodsworth, Robin and Mary Kohn. Urban and rural African American English vowels in North Carolina: A supra-regional shift and regional accomodation. Paper presented at NWAV 38: New Ways of Analyzing Language Variation. Ottawa, Oct. 24. link to abstract

  • 2009. Kohn, Mary; and Hannah Franz. Localized patterns for global variants: The case of quotative systems of African American and Latino speakers. American Speech, 84: 259:297. link to article

  • 2008. Kohn, Mary. Latino English in North Carolina: A Comparison of Emerging Communities. MA thesis. Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina State University. link to thesis

  • 2007. Kohn, Mary. Systems theory and the description of emerging patterns of language variation. Paper presented at NWAV 36: New Ways of Analyzing Language Variation. Philadelphia, PA link to abstract
  • .

Contact Information:

Department of Linguistics
Smith 102a
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3155
maryekohn at gmail dot com

mkohn at email dot unc dot edu

Some Cool Links: