Episode 73 (The American Dialect Society)

Betsy Evans

The February 2024 episode of In a Manner of Speaking is all about the American Dialect Society, which was founded in 1889 to study English and other languages in North America. Paul’s guest is Betsy Evans, the new executive director of the society and associate professor of linguistics at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Paul and Betsy discuss the history and mission of the ADS and explore the latest trends in accents, dialects, and vocabulary of the United States.

Betsy’s research concentrates on perceptual dialectology and draws heavily on perceptions and attitudes to language variation with an aim to explore how language variation relates to the function of language in marking identity, status, group solidarity, and cultural values. She is also director of the Folk Linguistics Online Mapping (FLOM) project, which works on developing a free, open-source, online tool for conducting perceptual dialect research. She is a co-founder of the Linguistic Bias Working group at the University of Washington and the executive director of the American Dialect Society.

For more information on the American Dialect Society, visit AmericanDialect.org.

Check out the videos below for further discussions of topics related to this podcast:

For further discussion of Amy Stoller’s question about “milk/melk,” visit  A Way with Words.

Betsy Evans’ selected research:

Evans, Betsy, PI. Seattle to Spokane: Mapping English in Washington State.

Evans, B. E., Benson, E. J., & Stanford, J. (Eds.). (2018) Language Regard: Methods, Variation and Change. Cambridge University Press.

Fridland, Beckford Wassink, Kendall & Evans (eds.). (2017) Speech in the Western States, Volume 2. Publication of the American Dialect Society (PADS) 77:1.

Fridland, V., Kendall, T., Evans, B., & Wassink, A. B. (2016) Speech of the Western States. Vol. 1, The Coastal States. Publication of the American Dialect Society, 101.

Mooney, Annabelle & Evans, Betsy. Language, Society & Power. 6th edition. London: Routledge.


(Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G Major BMV 1007 Prelude (by Ivan Dolgunov) is courtesy of Jamendo Licensing.)