what speech do we like best?

Language as Prestige

Language expresses who  we are, and who we want to be.
It can also unite or divide us.
Learn More

Crossing Over
Some people use the words and phrases of other "groups" like a linguistic fashion statement.

You're Hired!
My True Voice teaches students how to sound like a milion bucks!

Do You Speak Presidential?
Take a look at how our commanders-in-chief have commanded the language.

record store nyc

videoI Am You
Teens in a NYC music store use
Hip Hop to express themselves.

Suggested Reading/Additional Resources

  • Hymes, Dell, ed. 1964. Language in Culture and Society, (New York. A still-useful anthology.
  • Chambers, J.K., Peter Trudgill, and Natalie Schilling-Estes (Eds.). 2004. The Handbook of Language Variation and Change. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishers.
  • Wolfram, Walt and Natalie Schilling-Estes. 1998. American English: Dialects and Variation. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishers.
  • Allan Metcalf, 2004. Presidential Voices: Speaking Styles from George Washington to George W Bush, Houghton Mifflin.
  • Alim, H. Samy. (in press). "Hip Hop Nation Language." In Ed Finegan & John Rickford (eds.), Language in the USA. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Bauman, Zygmunt 1991. Modernity and Ambivalence. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Cutler, Cecilia. 2002. "Crossing Over: White Teenagers, Hip Hop and African American English." Doctoral Dissertation, New York University.
  • Hill,-Jane-H. 1995. Junk Spanish, Covert Racism, and the (Leaky) Boundary between Public and Private Spheres. Pragmatics 5, 197-212.
  • Labov, William. 1980. "Is There a Creole Speech Community?" Theoretical Orientations in Creole Studies, Albert Valdman and Arnold Highfield, eds. Pp. 369-388. New York: Academic Press.
  • Rampton, Ben. 1996. "Language Crossing and Ethnicity in Sociolinguistics." Paper presented at the New Ways of Analyzing Variation conference (NWAV XXV), Las Vegas.

Sponsored by:

National Endowment for the Humanities Hewlett Foundation Ford Foundation   Arthur Vining Davis Foundations Carnegie Corporation

National Endowment
for the Humanities

William and Flora Hewlett


Rosalind P.

Arthur Vining
Davis Foundations

Corporation of New York