Selected Biographies

(For Production and Web site credits, click here.)

The Do You Speak American?  Web site would not have been
possible without the contributions of the following people:

Michael Adams teaches at North Carolina State University. He is the author of Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon (Oxford University Press, 2003) and co-author of How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction to the English Language (Longman, 2005). From 2000 to 2005, he was editor of Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America. In 2006, he will become editor of American Speech.

John Algeo is Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia and was Alumni Foundation Distinguished Professor of English until his retirement. He has been a Fulbright Research Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow at the University of London. He is a past President of the American Dialect Society, the American Name Society, and the Dictionary Society of North America. He was editor of American Speech, the journal of the American Dialect Society, for ten years and is the author of numerous academic books and articles dealing with the history of the English language, British-American differences, and current usage. With his wife, Adele, for ten years he co-edited "Among the New Words," a quarterly article concerning additions to the English vocabulary. His most recent academic work is as editor and contributing author of volume 6 of the Cambridge History of the English Language (Cambridge University Press) on the history of English in North America. He is currently revising his and Thomas Pyles's textbook, Origins and Development of the English Language for its fifth edition. He has spoken at academic and Theosophical meetings throughout the United States and in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, India, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, and Wales.


Jannis Androutsopoulos is Junior Professor on Mediated Communication at Hannover University, Germany. A native of Athens, Greece, Jannis studied Germanic Linguistics and Translation Studies at the Universities of Athens and Heidelberg, and holds a PhD in Germanic Linguistics from the University of Heidelberg. From 1998-2000 he was a post-doctoral research fellow of the German Science Foundation with a project on mediated communication in youth culture, and from 2000-2003 he was a research fellow at the Institute for the German Language in Mannheim, working in a research group on 'Language variation as a communicative practice'. Jannis is a specialist in youth language and mediated communication in youth cultures, both in Germany and from a comparative point of view. He has published extensively in the fields of sociolinguistics, linguistic text analysis and media discourse in German, English and Greek, and taught seminars at the Universities of Hannover, Heidelberg, Mannheim, Berne, Budapest and Frankfurt. His current research focuses on language variation in media discourse, the sociolinguistics of computer-mediated communication, and the analysis of multimodal texts. His recent publications include the volumes Discourse constructions of youth identities, co-edited with Alexandra Georgakopoulou (Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2003), and HipHop: Globale Kultur - lokale Praktike' (Bielefeld: transcript, 2003).


Guy Bailey is Provost and Executive Vice-President at the University of Texas at San Antonio and continues the work he began on Texas speech in the 1980s. A Texas native, Jan Tillery is an associate professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio who researches the dialects of Texas and Southern American English generally.


Natalie Baker-Shirer was awarded the William H. and Frances B. Ryan Award for Meritorious Teaching in May 2001. At Carnegie Mellon, Ms. Baker Shirer teaches speech and phonetics as applied to Standard American English dialect. She has produced an instructional CD: Distinct, Efficient and Pleasing: A Practice CD of the Non-Regional Dialect of American English and an accompanying phonetics workbook for this course. Her other courses include Accents and Dialects for the Theatre, Voiceover (Broadcast) Acting and two community-based outreach courses: Speech and Phonetics Instruction and Outreach and Growing Theatre. Ms. Baker Shirer received a BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon, where she studied speech and phonetics extensively with Edith W. Skinner, and an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from the University of Pittsburgh. Her acting career includes Broadway, theatres across USA and Canada, Mister Rogers Neighborhood, voiceovers including Emmy Award for narrating PBS' What Doctors See. With a passionate interest in outreach for the School of Drama, Baker-Shirer has developed a community based outreach course The My True Voice Project in partnership with the Extra Mile Education Foundation She and her students handle three schools. The My True Voice Project combines the teaching of pronunciation with an exploration of poetry and the use of voice synthesis software.


Dennis Baron is professor of English and linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of several books on the English language, including The English-Only Question: An Official Language for Americans? (Yale Univ. Press, 1990); Grammar and Gender (Yale, 1986); Grammar and Good Taste: Reforming the American Language (Yale, 1982); Declining Grammar (National Council of Teachers of English, 1989); and Guide to Home Language Repair (NCTE: 1994). He writes for academic journals but his essays have also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and other newspapers, and he speaks about language issues both on his local public radio station, WILL-AM, and on radio and TV programs in other cities around the country. He is currently writing a book on the impact of technology on our reading and writing practices.


John Baugh joined Stanford University as Professor of Education and Linguistics in 1990. Prior to his tenure at Stanford, Dr. Baugh served as Associate Professor of Linguistics and Foreign Language Education at the University of Texas at Austin and as Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Black Studies, Sociology, and Anthropology at Swarthmore College. Dr. Baugh has published extensively in the fields of Anthropology, Education, Legal Affairs, Linguistics, Sociology and Urban Studies. His work bridges theoretical and applied linguistics, with particular attention to matters of policy and social equity in the fields of education, medicine, and the law. He has conducted extensive research regarding the social stratification of linguistic diversity within the U.S., Austria, Brazil, Hungary, South Africa, and the UK, and is actively engaged in ongoing research that examines the evolution and dissemination of English and other European languages in post-colonial contexts throughout the world. Dr. Baugh is a past president of the American Dialect Society and a member of the usage advisory committee for the American Heritage English Dictionary. He has also served as consultant on several documentary films related to American language and as an expert witness in court cases where matters of voice recognition and language attitudes have been central. Dr. Baugh received his B.A. in Speech and Rhetoric at Temple University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. He currently sits on the Boards of the Consortiuum of Social Science Associations, Eastside Prep, Raising a Reader, and Project Pericles.

Christine Carl (Content Manager) A native of Arlington, Virginia, Christine Carl is a perpetual student of both linguistics and web content development. She holds a BA in Music from Sweet Briar College and a MA in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University. Among her varied accomplishments, Christine is a classically trained vocalist, an award-winning public speaker, and for a time authored a book review for an arts and entertainment weekly, The Burg, in Lynchburg, VA. She is currently a researcher with the Corporate Executive Board in Washington, D.C. Christy is both delighted and proud to be a part of the Do You Speak American? web team.

Phillip Carter is currently a lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at North Carolina State University. He previously earned his MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University after completing his bachelor's in Spanish Language and Literature. His primary research interests are in the field of sociolinguistics and his current research explores the production of speech prosody in Spanish and English and the acquisition of rhythm by Hispanic immigrants living in an urban community in Raleigh, North Carolina.


J. K. Chambers is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Toronto. He is the co-editor, with Peter Trudgill and Natalie Schilling-Estes, of The Handbook of Language Variation and Change (Blackwell 2002) and co-author, with Peter Trudgill, of Dialectology (second edition, 1998). He has written extensively about Canadian English, beginning with Canadian Raising in 1973 and including Canadian English: Origins and Structures (Toronto: Methuen, 1975), the first book on the topic. He works extensively as a forensic consultant and maintains a parallel vocation in jazz criticism, including the prize-winning biography Milestones: The Music and Times of Miles Davis (1998). More at .

Becky Childs received her M.A. in English with a concentration in linguistics from North Carolina State University and is now pursuing a PhD in Linguistics at the University of Georgia. Her research interests include language variation, specifically phonetic variation in English dialects.

William Cran (Series Producer and Writer -- Creative Director, Paladin/InVision Productions Ltd.) began his career 30 years ago at the BBC, where he spent eight years, including two as a producer for the flagship documentary program Panorama. In 1979, after leaving the BBC to work as a freelance documentarian in Canada and the United States, Mr. Cran embarked on a long professional relationship with WGBH in Boston. Since then he has made some 50 full-length documentaries and won more than two dozen awards, including Emmy, duPont-Columbia and New York Film Festival Awards . Among his many notable projects are Chachaji My Poor Relation, 88 Seconds in Greensboro, The Search for Missing Marcos Millions, The Secret File on J. Edgar Hoover, The Mysterious Career of Lee Harvey Oswald, Pablo Escobar the Godfather of Cocaine, and Ambush in Mogadishui, all for WGBH, and Nelson's Trafalgar, for Channel 4 (U.K.). Mr. Cran has also produced major series including The Story of English (BBC Television), The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power (WGBH), From Jesus to Christ (WGBH), Red Files (PBS/DDE), and Commanding Heights (WGBH). He developed the storyline and worked as executive producer of the HBO movie Hostile Waters, which starred Rutger Hauer, Martin Sheen and Max von Sydow. Most recently, he has been the series producer of 1421: The Year China Discovered America? (PBS/Pearson), and Extreme Oil (Thirteen/WNET New York). Mr. Cran was born in Australia, educated at Westminster School and Oxford University, and was one of six graduates (out of 3,000) to be chosen as General Trainee by the BBC. He co-authored the international best-seller The Story of English and has just completed the companion book to this series, Do You Speak American?, as co-author.


Cecelia Cutler received her Ph.D. from New York University in 2002. She is currently a visiting assistant professor of linguistics at Stony Brook University. Her dissertation explores the speech practices of white middle class hip hoppers in New York City. More generally her research focuses on the sociolinguistic aspects of individuals adopting ways of speaking that differ from those they were raised with. She has published pieces in Popular Music and Society, the Journal of Sociolinguistics, the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, and Language and Education.


Tom Dalzell received a bachelor's degree in American Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971. In 1976, he was admitted to practice law in California after studying under the supervision of an attorney for four years. Dalzell has practiced union-side labor law since 1976, and is currently employed by Local 1245 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO. Since 1983,Dalzell has devoted "a considerable portion" of his life to the study of American slang, and is recognized as a national expert. He has authored two books on slang, Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang (Merriam-Webster, 1996) and The Slang of Sin (Merriam-Webster, 1998). In addition, Dalzell wrote the chapter on the slang of hip-hop in Speaking Freely: A Guided Tour of American English from Plymouth Rock to Silicon Valley by Stuart Berg Flexner and Anne H. Soukhanov (Oxford University Press, 1997). Dalzell is the senior editor of The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, a two-volume dictionary to be published by Routledge of London in 2005. He has appeared made dozens of media appearances, and has also contributed to contributed to William Safire's column in the New York Times.


Connie Eble is Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she has taught for more than thirty years. She is also Editor of American Speech, the quarterly journal of the American Dialect Society. Her book Slang and Sociability (University of North Carolina Press, 1996) reports her study of the slang of American college students. She has recently completed terms as president of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association and the Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States. Her current research project is a study of the loss of French in Louisiana in the first part of the nineteenth century.

mendoza-denton eckert

Penelope Eckert is a Professor of Linguistics at Stanford University where she works on language change among teenagers. Norma Mendoza-Denton is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona who works on speech style and language and identity.


Edward Finegan is professor of linguistics and law at the University of Southern California. He is author of Language: Its Structure and Use, 4th ed. (Thomson Wadsworth, 2004) and Attitudes toward English Usage (Teachers College Press, Columbia University, 1980) and co-editor (with John R. Rickford) of Language in the USA (Cambridge University Press, 2004). He has written extensively on register and style variation in English and contributed chapters on grammar and usage in Britain and America to the Cambridge History of the English Language. His interests range across usage, attitudes toward language, and style variation; he also serves as an expert consultant in forensic linguistics.


Carmen Fought is an associate professor of linguistics, Pitzer College in Claremont, California, and author of Chicano English in Context (Palgrave/Macmillan) and the editor of Sociolinguistic Variation (Oxford University Press). Her research focuses on the dialects of California, from those associated with Latinos and Latinas to the infamous "Valley Girl" way of speaking. Dr. Fought is also studying the representation of language in the media, including films, television and commercials.


John G. Fought, now an independent scholar, was an Associate Professor of linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania and has also taught at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and at Pomona College. He has written on modern Mayan , Chorti (Mayan) Texts I, University of (Pennsylvania Press, 1972) and on the history of American linguistics Leonard Bloomfield: Assessments of Leading Linguists, (Routledge, 1999), and, with Dell Hymes, American Structuralism, (Mouton, 1981). He has studied and taught American regional and social dialectology for many years.

Joan Friedenberg (Producer, Digital Ancillaries MacNeil/Lehrer Productions) As the producer of digital ancillaries for Do You Speak American? Joan Friedenberg conceived and produced the companion web site and web-connected DVD that accompanies the broadcast. Over her 30-year career, Ms. Friedenberg has been a member of national and international production teams whose work has been recognized by the George Foster Peabody Awards, The New York Festivals, The Cannes Film Festival, the Telly Awards and most recently the DVD Association of America (DVDA). Ms. Friedenberg has worked for major media organizations including MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, ABC-TV News (London), National Public Radio, McGraw - Hill, Inc. (London & Washington) and SVT-TV2 (Swedish National Television). In 1995, she became the founding editor of the Online NewsHour - the web site for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. In 2001, she co-produced MacNeil/Lehrer's first web-connected interactive DVD through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In 2003 she completed the DVDA WebDVD award winning title: Changing the Face of Medicine - Profiles in Achievement for the National Institutes of Health/National Library of Medicine.


Matthew J. Gordon is assistant professor of English at the University of Missouri - Columbia. He has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Michigan. His research specializes in sociolinguistics and American dialectology. His book Small-Town Values, Big-City Vowels (Duke University Press, 2001) is a study of the Northern Cities Shift in Michigan. He is also co-author with Lesley Milroy of Sociolinguistics: Method and Interpretation (Blackwell, 2003), a book that presents an overview of current practices in the field of sociolinguistics. He is currently studying sound changes in the state of Missouri.


Constance Hale grew up in Hawaii and returns there often in her writing. She left the islands to get a bachelors degree from Princeton and a masters from the Graduate School of Journalism at UC-Berkeley. She has worked as a reporter and editor at the Oakland Tribune, Hearst's San Francisco Examiner, Wired, and Health. Her freelance work has appeared in many Bay Area publications, as well as in Honolulu, HotWired, and the Atlantic Monthly. She has written two popular books on language, Sin and Syntax and Wired Style, and has been dubbed "Marion the Librarian on a Harley, or E. B. White on acid."

Joan Houston Hall, Chief Editor of the Dictionary of American Regional English (familiarly known as DARE), is uniquely suited to her work as a chronicler of American dialects: she was born in Ohio, grew up in California, went to college in Idaho, and to graduate school in Georgia. From there she moved to Oregon, thence to Maine, and ultimately to Wisconsin, where she has worked with DARE since 1975. Ms. Hall's Ph.D. is from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where she had the opportunity to interview people for the Dialect Survey of Rural Georgia. That linguistic fieldwork was very much like that done for the DARE project, though on a smaller scale. In addition to editing four volumes of the Dictionary (Volume I, A-C, 1985; II, D-H, 1991; III, I-O, 1996; IV, P-Sk, 2002), she has written widely about the project. She has served as President of the Dictionary Society of North America and is currently President of the American Dialect Society.

Barbara Johnstone is Professor of Rhetoric and Linguistics at Carnegie Mellon University. She has carried out sociolinguistic research on American ways of speaking in Indiana, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Her current project is about language change, dialect awareness, and people's sense of place in Pittsburgh. Information about the Pittsburgh Speech and Society Project is at


William Labov, Professor of Linguistics, Director of the Linguistics Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania. His major studies include studies of the social stratification of language (The Social Stratification of English in New York City 1966, Sociolinguistic Patterns in 1972) and of African American English (Language in the Inner Cit , 1972), His current work deals with the general problem of the direction and causes of linguistic change (Principles of Linguistic Change 1994, 2001). He is the director of the Atlas of North American English and the Urban Minorities Reading Project. Labov is co-editor of Language Variation and Change, served as president of the Linguistic Society of America (1979), and is a member the National Academy of Science. Home page:

Kristen Lorek (Assistant Producer) A native of Bethesda, MD, Kristen Lorek graduated from Loyola College, Baltimore, MD with a BA in Journalism and minor Spanish. After interning at the Baltimore Sun spring semester senior year, she worked as a desk assistant for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. She now works for MacNeil/Lehrer Productions’ Interactive Department where she  was a team member on the multiple award winning WebDVD, Changing the Face of Medicine, created for the National Institutes of Health.

Roger Los is a graphic designer and developer who specializes in web technology. He has been designing largely for electronic media since 1992 and has created over 100 web sites, largely for public television and non-profits. Roger lives on Whidbey Island (north of Seattle, Washington) with his wife and their menagerie of animals.

Robert MacNeil's (Series Reporter, Writer and Host) journalism career spans 40 years and began with a five-year tenure at Reuters News Agency in London. In 1960, he entered the world of television as an NBC News London-based correspondent, covering such events as the fighting in the Belgian Congo, the Civil War in Algeria, the construction of the Berlin Wall, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1963 he was transferred to NBC's Washington bureau, where he reported on the unfolding civil rights story and helped cover the White House. Mr. MacNeil was the NBC News correspondent covering President Kennedy on the day he was assassinated in Dallas.

After a stint as a reporter for the BBC, Mr. MacNeil joined PBS in 1971, where he first teamed with Jim Lehrer to co-anchor public television's Emmy-winning coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings. Their collaboration led to The MacNeil/Lehrer Report, which launched in October 1975 and devoted its nightly half-hour time slot to a single issue. Eight years later, The Report became The NewsHour, the nation's first full hour of evening news, and went on to garner numerous awards, including two 1992 Emmy Awards. In 1999, with Mr. Lehrer, Mr. MacNeil was inducted into the Television Academy's Hall of Fame. Together, they founded MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and under its auspices have produced The NewsHour, The Story of English, Learning in America, and C. Everett Koop, M.D., among many other programs, airing on PBS and other network and cable television outlets. Mr. MacNeil retired from daily journalism in 1995.

Mr. MacNeil himself has won numerous awards, including Peabody Awards, a duPont-Columbia Award and the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award. He is the author of several books, including Breaking News, The Voyage, Burden of Desire, his critically acclaimed first novel, The People Machine, and The Way We Were: 1963, The Year Kennedy Was Shot. His memoir, Looking for My Country: Finding Myself in America, is pending publication.

Born in Montreal and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Mr. MacNeil graduated from Carleton University in Ottowa. He has four children, and lives with his wife in Manhattan and Nova Scotia.

Christine Mallinson is a Ph.D. student in the department of Sociology and Anthropology at North Carolina State University. She previously received her MA in English/Linguistics from North Carolina State University after completing her bachelor's degree in Sociology and German from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her primary research interests are in the field of sociolinguistics, and her current research investigates the intersection of language with regional and ethnic identity in a community of African Americans in Western North Carolina.


Paul McFedries is a writer with more than 40 books to his credit. His most recent book is Word Spy: The Word Lover's Guide to Modern Culture, published in February by Broadway Books. McFedries loves all words (his company name is Logophilia Limited; logophilia means "the love of words"), but he particularly enjoys tracking down new words, especially those with some traction in the culture but that aren't yet in any dictionary. He posts the results of these lexical hunts on his popular Web site


Megan E. Melancon is a Cajun and a linguist. Her research has centered on Cajun, Creole French and English in southern Louisiana , and more recently, on Georgia dialects. She is currently Assistant Professor of English, Speech, and Journalism at Georgia College & State University.

Susan Mills (Series Executive Producer -- Director of Program Development for MacNeil/Lehrer Productions). As the Director of Program Development for MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, Susan Mills oversees the creation and production of programming for television, home video, publishing, and interactive markets. She has worked in broadcast journalism for 36 years, first at CBS NEWS and then The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Her awards include 4 National Emmys, ten Emmy nominations, the George Foster Peabody Award, Columbia University's duPont Award, Ohio State's Journalism Award and the Gavel Award from the American Bar Association.


Cliff Nass is a Professor at Stanford University. His primary appointment is in the Department of Communication. He also has appointments by courtesy in Computer Science, Science, Technology and Society, Sociology and Symbolic Systems (cognitive science). Dr. Nass is a director of the Social Responses to Communication Technologies (SRCT) Project at Stanford University. Recent research in this area includes how people apply social rules and heuristics to ubiquitous technologies in support of office, meeting, and classroom interaction; alignment in natural language understanding; mixed agent and avatar systems for learning; voice interfaces and driving (particularly drowsy driving); and human-robot interaction. Dr. Nass is also one of two Directors of the Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory (KGC) at Stanford University and its Real-time Venture Design Laboratory (ReVeL). Recent research in this area includes: links between personal identity and venture sustainability; information technology and development; and compression in small groups. Dr. Nass is the author of: The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Televisions, and New Media Like Real People and Places (New York: Cambridge University Press) - and an upcoming book: Voice Activated: The Psychology and Design of Interfaces that Talk and Listen.

Dennis R. Preston (University Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, MSU; Ph.D., UW-Madison) has been visiting professor at the Universities of Indiana Southeast, Hawaii, Arizona, and Michigan and Fulbright Senior Researcher in Poland and Brazil. He was Co-Director of the 1990 TESOL Institute and Director of the 2003 LSA Institute, both at MSU. He was President of the American Dialect Society (2001-2) and served on the Executive Boards of that Society and the International Conference on Methods in Dialectology, the editorial boards of Language, the International Journal of Applied Linguistics, and the Journal of Sociolinguistics, and as a reader for numerous other journals, publishers, and granting agencies. His work focuses on sociolinguistics, dialectology, and ethnography, and minority language and variety education . His is perhaps best known for the revitalization of folk linguistics, particularly perceptual dialectology, and attempts to provide variationist accounts of second language acquisition. He has directed three recent NSF grants, two in folk linguistics and one in language variation and change and is invited frequently for presentations in both academic and popular venues. His most recent book-length publications are, with Nancy Niedzielski, Folk Linguistics (2000), with Daniel Long, A Handbook of Perceptual Dialectology, Volume II (2002), and Needed Research in American Dialects (2003). He is a fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and will be awarded the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Polish Republic in 2004. He is a recipient of the MSU Distinguished Faculty Award and the Paul Varg Alumni Award of the College of Arts and Letters at MSU.

Jody Sheff (Series Executive Producer -- Executive Producer, History and Features Programming, Thirteen/WNET New York ) As the executive producer of history and features programming at Thirteen/WNET New York, Jody Sheff has spearheaded such national presentations as The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Crown and Country and local projects including the popular Walking Tour series. Ms. Sheff produced the critically acclaimed PBS special A Conversation With Bill Moyers and Ursula K. LeGuin, created to coincide with the re-release of Ms. LeGuin's science fiction classic The Lathe of Heaven. She was also the series producer for the Emmy Award-winning Innovation, and for the syndicated series The World of Nature With Walter Cronkite. As a producer, writer and director her credits include Nature, Great Railway Journeys II, Legendary Trails, Sesame Street, and American Masters. Currently, Ms. Sheff is working on the next "House" series for PBS entitled, Regency House Party, a new series about the history of the British monarchy, as well as other projects.


Jesse Sheidlower is the principal North American Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary and was featured in the 2002 IBM ThinkPad campaign "Interesting People With Interesting Jobs." He is the author of the controversial, best-selling book The F Word, and has written several "On Language" columns for The New York Times Magazine, filling in for William Safire. Mr. Sheidlower is a member of the editorial board of Copyeditor Magazine.

Christa Smith Anderson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University and received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia. After several years producing and writing television news, she is now a federal government employee by day and a fiction writer the rest of the time. She received the 2002 Cynthia Wynn Herman Scholarship from George Mason University and has published non-fiction in So to Speak, a Feminist Journal of Language and Arts.


Deborah Tannen is best known as the author of You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, which was on The New York Times Best Seller list for nearly four years, including eight months as No. 1, and has been translated into 29 languages. It was also on best seller lists in Brazil, Canada, England, Germany, Holland, and Hong Kong. This is the book that brought gender differences in communication style to the forefront of public awareness. Her book, Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work, a New York Times Business Best Seller, does for the workplace what the earlier book did for women and men talking at home. She has also made a training video, Talking 9 to 5. Her book, The Argument Culture, received the Common Ground Book Award. Her most recent book, I Only Say This Because I Love You: Talking to Your Parents, Partner, Sibs, and Kids When You're All Adults, received a Books for a Better Life award. Deborah Tannen is on the linguistics department faculty at Georgetown University, where she is one of only four who hold the distinguished rank of University Professor. She has been McGraw Distinguished Lecturer at Princeton University, and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California, following a term in residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She has published nineteen books and over 100 articles and is the recipient of five honorary doctorates. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of California at Berkeley.

Anna Marie Trester is a PhD student in Sociolinguistics at Georgetown University. Her research interests include language and society, discourse analysis, language and style, language and the media, and the construction and performance of identity through language.


Walt Wolfram is the William C. Friday Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University, where he directs the North Carolina Language and Life Project. He has pioneered research on social and ethnic dialects since the 1960s, publishing 16 books and more than 250 articles on language varieties such as African American English, Latino English, Appalachian English, and Southern Vernacular English. Wolfram is deeply involved in the application of sociolinguistic information and the dissemination of knowledge about dialects to the public. In this connection, he has been involved in the production of TV documentaries, museum exhibits, and other community-based dialect awareness initiatives; he also served as primary linguistic consultant for the Children's Television Workshop, the producers of Sesame Street. He has served as President of the Linguistic Society of America, the American Dialect Society, and the Southeastern Conference on Linguistics.

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