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Penelope "Penny" Eckert (born 1942) is a professor of linguistics at Stanford University[1] in Stanford, California, where she holds the position of "Albert Ray Lang Professor of Linguistics".[2] She is a prominent scholar of variationist sociolinguistics and is the author of several scholarly works on language and gender.[1][3] She served as the President of the Linguistic Society of America in 2018.[4]

Biography

Eckert received her PhD in linguistics in 1978 from Columbia University, where she was a student of William Labov. She is the author or co-author of three books on sociolinguistics, the co-editor of three collections, and author of numerous scholarly papers in the field. She attended Oberlin College in 1963 as an undergraduate.[5]

Eckert served as the president of the International Gender and Language Association (IGALA) from 2000-2003.[6] She was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011.[7] In 2012, she was inducted as a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), where she had previously served on a number of committees, including the Ethics Committee, the Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics, the Nominating Committee, and the Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics, where she served as Committee Chair from 1990-1991.[6][8] In 2016, she was elected President of the LSA.[9]

As president of the organization, Eckert worked to combat workplace harassment and power dynamics in the linguistics community, through a panel entitled "Our Linguistics Community: Addressing Bias, Power Dynamics, Harassment", as well as developing an open dialogue between the Linguistic Society of America's Ethics Committee, the Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics (COSWL) and the Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics (CEDL).[10]

Today, Eckert is a professor of linguistics at Stanford University where she is an active affiliate of the Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, a member of the Committee on Graduate Study, the Senate of the Committee on Committees, and a member and chair on the Administrative Panel on Human Subjects in Non-medical Research.[5]

Eckert's research shows that adolescents are the "movers and shakers of linguistic change", which explains her focus on this demographic in much of her research, specifically the creation of adolescence in the United States.[11]

Work

Early work

Eckert became interested in her field of work through her own experience, dissatisfied with the way that it was being approached from a scholarly standpoint. Eckert has mainly collaborated with Sally McConnell-Ginet, a Professor Emeritis at Cornell University.[12] The two started working together in 1990 and have given talks together and worked on one of her most well known works, Language and Gender.[13][better source needed]

Her early work focused on phonological variation in Gascon.[14] During this period she specialized in the spread of sound change across geographical regions, specifically in Southern F

Eckert received her PhD in linguistics in 1978 from Columbia University, where she was a student of William Labov. She is the author or co-author of three books on sociolinguistics, the co-editor of three collections, and author of numerous scholarly papers in the field. She attended Oberlin College in 1963 as an undergraduate.[5]

Eckert served as the president of the International Gender and Language Association (IGALA) from 2000-2003.[6] She was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011.[7] In 2012, she was inducted as a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), where she had previously served on a number of committees, including the Ethics Committee, the Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics, the Nominating Committee, and the Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics, where she served as Committee Chair from 1990-1991.[6][8] In 2016, she was elected President of the LSA.[9]

As president of the organization, Eckert worked to combat workplace harassment and power dynamics in the linguistics community, through a panel entitled "Our Linguistics Community: Addressing Bias, Power Dynamics, Harassment", as well as developing an open dialogue between the Linguistic Society of America's Ethics Committee, the Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics (COSWL) and the Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics (CEDL).[10]

Today, Eckert is a professor of linguistics at Stanford University where she is an active affiliate of the Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, a member of the Committee on Graduate Study, the Senate of the Committee on Committees, and a member and chair on the Administrative Panel on Human Subjects in Non-medical Research.[5]

Eckert's research shows that adolescents are the "movers and shakers of linguistic change", which explains her focus on this demographic in much of her research, specifically the creation of adolescence in the United States.[11]

Work

Early work

Ecker

Eckert served as the president of the International Gender and Language Association (IGALA) from 2000-2003.[6] She was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011.[7] In 2012, she was inducted as a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), where she had previously served on a number of committees, including the Ethics Committee, the Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics, the Nominating Committee, and the Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics, where she served as Committee Chair from 1990-1991.[6][8] In 2016, she was elected President of the LSA.[9]

As president of the organization, Eckert worked to combat workplace harassment and power dynamics in the linguistics community, through a panel entitled "Our Linguistics Community: Addressing Bias, Power Dynamics, Harassment", as well as developing an open dialogue between the Linguistic Society of America's Ethics Committee, the Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics (COSWL) and the Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics (CEDL).[10]

Today, Eckert is a professor of linguistics at Stanford University where she is an active affiliate of the Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, a member of the Committee on Graduate Study, the Senate of the Committee on Committees, and a member and chair on the Administrative Panel on Human Subjects in Non-medical Research.[5]

Eckert's research shows that adolescents are the "movers and shakers of linguistic change", which explains her focus on this demographic in much of her research, specifically the creation of adolescence in the United States.[11]

Eckert became interested in her field of work through her own experience, dissatisfied with the way that it was being approached from a scholarly standpoint. Eckert has mainly collaborated with Sally McConnell-Ginet, a Professor Emeritis at Cornell University.[12] The two started working together in 1990 and have given talks together and worked on one of her most well known works, Language and Gender.[13][better source needed]

Her early work focused on phonological variation in Gascon.[14] During this period she specialized in the spread of sound change across geographical regions, specifically in Southern France. She studied the elderly population, who were the first generation to learn French as a second language after their regional language.[15] She recently returned to Gascon

Her early work focused on phonological variation in Gascon.[14] During this period she specialized in the spread of sound change across geographical regions, specifically in Southern France. She studied the elderly population, who were the first generation to learn French as a second language after their regional language.[15] She recently returned to Gascon, in 2005, to continue her work there, focusing on the diversity of isoglosses in the area.

Her more recent work focuses on the social meaning of linguistic variables, particularly in English.

Eckert's research aims to address shifts in linguistic patterns in how gender is addressed and concentrates on adolescents, since they are the "movers and shakers in linguistic change".[16] She does this through the use of "in-d

Eckert's research aims to address shifts in linguistic patterns in how gender is addressed and concentrates on adolescents, since they are the "movers and shakers in linguistic change".[16] She does this through the use of "in-depth ethnographic fieldwork focusing on the relation between variation, linguistic style, social identity and social practice."[16]

Eckert developed three waves of analytic practice in order to facilitate the study of sociolinguistics and how it varies within communities. The first wave focuses on how linguistic variations relate to different demographic communities in highly populated American cities. The second wave deconstructed social structures with a more ethnographic approach. Finally, the third wave built upon the first two waves by articulating how these social structures are interpreted in a local context.[17]

Eckert's focus on language and adolescence and preadolescence began in the early eighties with Jocks and Burnouts, an ethnographic project set in suburban Detroit high schools.[18] Eckert's work highlighted social categories as cultures that structured the use of phonological variables within the high school setting.[19][20]

Jocks, embodying middle class values, profit from the corporate organization of education which simulates expectations and norms of the corporate workplace, one in which personal values coincide with those of the organization; their social networks are restricted to those within the school environment and within similar age groups. Burnouts, on the

Jocks, embodying middle class values, profit from the corporate organization of education which simulates expectations and norms of the corporate workplace, one in which personal values coincide with those of the organization; their social networks are restricted to those within the school environment and within similar age groups. Burnouts, on the other hand, embody working-class cultures, resisting the corporate norms of education in preparation to enter the blue-collar workforce; burnouts' social networks extend across age groups and local and urban environments. Rather than restrict students to the two categories, Eckert emphasizes the hegemonic nature of the dichotomy that structures students' self-identification. In other words, few students exist outside the dichotomy, instead locating themselves as "In-betweens."[19][20]

In examining the extreme backing and lowering of (uh), a step in the Northern Cities Chain Shift, among jocks, in-betweens, and burnouts. Eckert similarly examined the effect of parents' socioeconomic status on the backing and lowering (uh), finding no correlation; this would indicate that parents' socioeconomic status had no substantial effect. Rather, it was students' jock/burnout identities and social network clusters that showed the stronger correlation, wherein burnouts exhibited the highest frequency of (uh) backing and lowering.[19][20]

In the late nineties, Eckert conducted ethnographic work at two elementary schools in San Jose, California; one school served a predominantly working class and middle class Anglo-American population, while the other served a primarily poor and ethnically diverse student population.[18] Adopting a communities of practice approach, Eckert studied the stylistic development of a heterosexual marketplace or field of gender difference among fifth and sixth graders. In particular, Eckert examined the role of linguistic variation in this development, including nasal variation in /ae/, emotional expression via pitch range, and indexicality of /o/, /ay/, and /ow/ fronting.[21][22]

Eckert researches language in discourse communities as well as recognizing the linguistic and ethnic dialects that continue to grow. She not only studies the change among children and teenager's vernacular in California, she also analyzes how the language and vowels are pronounced.[23] Both Eckert and her graduate students from Stanford University created a study called "Voices of California", which examine English language variation in different parts of California.[24] California is one of the newer states alongside an ethnically diverse state. The pre-conceived notion that California speech is based on solely Hollywood is false and the cultural and linguistic diversity throughout the state is sizable.[1]

Eckert's work employs ethnographic research and follows preadolescents' linguistic development throughout elementary and middle school years.[23] Eckert notes that pitch is in relation to gender when referring to women and their tonality. She explains that the tone of a woman's voice displays theatrical appeal and variability in language.[25] Valley girl-speak stereotypes is known to be a distinctive Californian cultured dialect. Ca

Eckert's work employs ethnographic research and follows preadolescents' linguistic development throughout elementary and middle school years.[23] Eckert notes that pitch is in relation to gender when referring to women and their tonality. She explains that the tone of a woman's voice displays theatrical appeal and variability in language.[25] Valley girl-speak stereotypes is known to be a distinctive Californian cultured dialect. California women are known for valley-girl language, whereas California men are known for their pitch rising throughout their sentences following a plateau. Uptalk also occurs later in their phrases and Eckert is known to analyze uptalk in detail.[26]

The California dialects also play a role in establishing vowel shifts throughout the state. Californians view their dialect as similar and identifiable to most states, [excluding states with distinct accents: Chicago and New York]. California English is known for the linguistic and paralinguistic features that articulate vowels "o" and "u", pronounced, "eeuw". Popular California vernacular is known for transitional words like "oh", said like "oeeuw" and phrases consisting of, "I'm like" and "she's like", "I'm all" and "he's all", alongside the cliché surfer and skateboarder slang that California English dialect includes.[27]

The California vernacular distinction between vowels are either merged or form a diphthong. Words like "dawn" and "don" are pronounced similarly; different vowels that are pronounced with the same sound. A common word like "mom" can sound like "mawm".[28] Diphtho

The California vernacular distinction between vowels are either merged or form a diphthong. Words like "dawn" and "don" are pronounced similarly; different vowels that are pronounced with the same sound. A common word like "mom" can sound like "mawm".[28] Diphthong is the combination sound of two vowels in one syllable. Words like "coin" and "loud" are examples of a diphthong.

Central to Eckert's sociolinguistic theoretical framework is the concept of community of practice. The notion of community of practice was formulated by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger both of whom Eckert met in 1989 while working at the Institute for Research on Learning in Palo Alto. A community of practice is a group of people who, through interaction and shared context, define a set of practices based upon language style, values, belief systems, dynamics of power, and performance.[23] Examples of communities of practice could be mechanics working at a shop, regular members of a religious congregation, faculty members in a specific department, and members of a sports team that practice and play regularly together.[29] The community of practice is defined by the context of the environment and social dynamics which include age, gender, sex, sexuality, and social class of the participants. One's identity is thus shaped by one's membership and participation in a variety of communities of practice. While originally based in sociological research on 'newcomers' and 'old-timers' in a place of employment,[29] communities of practice, according to Eckert, have a legitimate role in shaping identity through language.

Community of practice and language

Eckert expanded upon Lave and Wenger's concept by focusing on language use within communities of practice. Through commonalities in the use of language, identities are constructed and co-constructed.[30] In each community, membership is negotiated

Eckert expanded upon Lave and Wenger's concept by focusing on language use within communities of practice. Through commonalities in the use of language, identities are constructed and co-constructed.[30] In each community, membership is negotiated through language use. Phoneme variation, topics of interest, vocabulary use, discursive practices, and avoidance or uptake of standardized English are all language variables in which one negotiates identity, relationships, and power within and across communities of practice.[31]

Community of practice and gender

Per

Perhaps the greatest focus of Eckert's work has been the construction of gender within communities of practice. Eckert is cautious of many sociolinguistic studies that draw conclusions about language and gender without taking multiple contextual factors and the variety of community of practices into consideration.[30] While praising William Labov's 1966's department store study and Robin Lakoff's work on gender and language, Eckert also points out the contextual limits of making generalizations from those studies. Eckert also points out that studies of gender and language need to not solely focus on linguistic differences but also on overlaps in language use.

Eckert points out that gender is not solitary, that gender is a socially constructed through multi-modal factors such as class, sexuality, age, ethnicity, and sex. For example, tag questions and rising intonations are typically attributed

Eckert points out that gender is not solitary, that gender is a socially constructed through multi-modal factors such as class, sexuality, age, ethnicity, and sex. For example, tag questions and rising intonations are typically attributed to be common markers of 'women's language'.[32] Historically, tags and intonation have been thought of as the language of subordination in mixed gender settings. Eckert, however, points out that in all-female communities, tags and intonation are used to assert dominance and power.[33] Eckert emphasizes that under a community of practice paradigm, language and gender must avoid generalizations, must be seen as active, must be viewed under an intersectional lens, and that ethnographic studies are central to understanding the social classification that exists within and between communities of practice.[19]

Furthermore, Eckert posits language style as a mechanism by which one establishes identity within communities of practice. For example, Eckert provides examples of early adolescent girls' use of profanity in a variety of communities of practice. She points out that generalizations about the use of profanity are problematic because the reasons for such discourse could be varied. Profanity could be used as an affront to authority, a marker of style to establish a rougher identity, as dissociating from communities of practice of the 'goodies' social groups, or as associating with a profanity-using mother.[33] Eckert claims that as hair and dress change across communities of practice, so does language style and use as people seek connections across various linguistic communities.[23]

[34][35][36]