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Research Project

Roots of Linguistic Identity

2022 – 2025
Young children look at a book together

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Key Question

Project Summary

This interdisciplinary research team aims to integrate the methods of developmental psychology and sociolinguistics so as to better understand the intersection of language-acquisition and the earliest developments of social identity. The novel approach will focus on the learning of dialects by infants and young children.

Research Team

Kennedy Casey

Kennedy Casey

Kennedy Casey

Manager, Chatter Lab

University of Chicago

Kennedy Casey is the manager of the Chatter Lab, a research center at the University of Chicago that investigates the cognition of everyday human language. She completed her BA degree at Princeton...

Marisa Casillas

Marisa Casillas

Marisa Casillas

Assistant Professor of Comparative Human Development

University of Chicago

Marisa Casillas is interested in exploring how cognitive and social processes shape the ways in which we learn, perceive, and produce language. Her primary research examines the relationship between communicative skills and linguistic processing in children and adults. Casillas uses a...

Annette D’Onofrio

Annette D'Onofrio

Annette D’Onofrio

Assistant Professor of Linguistics

Northwestern University

Annette D'Onofrio is a sociolinguist broadly interested in how phonetic features play into the ways that we understand and create the social world around us. She is particularly interested in how we use social information to understand spoken language, and how we use linguistic styles to form...

Sharese King

Sharese King

Sharese King

Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Linguistics

University of Chicago

Sharese King's research focuses on the facets and implications of identity construction for African Americans through language, studying how African Americans’ speech is packaged, construed, racialized, and evaluated. She has conducted fieldwork on African American speech in Bakersfield,...

Katherine Kinzler

Katherine Kinzler

Katherine Kinzler

Chair and Professor of Psychology

University of Chicago

Katherine Kinzler’s research sits at the intersection of developmental and social psychology. Her work focuses on the origins of prejudice and ingroup/outgroup thinking, with an emphasis on understanding how language and accent mark social groups. She is also interested in cultural learning,...

Adriana Weisleder

Adriana Weisleder

Adriana Weisleder

Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences

Northwestern University

Adriana Weisleder is an assistant professor in the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University and director of the Child Language Lab. Her research investigates early language development and processing in young children from diverse linguistic and socioeconomic...

Reading List

Kinzler, Katherine

How You Say It: Why You Talk the Way You Do and What It Says About You Mariner Books, 2020 Read

D'Onofrio, Annette and Benheim, Jaime

Contextualizing Reversal: Local Dynamics of the Northern Cities Shift in a Chicago Community Journal of Sociolinguistics 24 (4), 469–491 Read

D'Onofrio, Annette and King, Sharese

Distinction Without Distance: Racialized Vocalic Differences in an Integrated Chicago Community American Speech (April 2022) Read

King, Sharese

From African American Vernacular English to African American Language: Rethinking the Study of Race and Language in African Americans’ Speech Annual Review of Linguistics 2020 (6), 285–300 Read

Casey, Kennedy and Casillas, Marisa

From Doggy to Dog: Developmental Shifts in Children’s Use of Register-Specific Words Proceedings of the 44th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (2022) Read

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