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2019 Year of Equity

CANCELLED: Language Diversity in Educational Settings

Dunstan is the NCSU Assistant Director of the Office of Assessment. Her research examines dialect as an element of diversity that shapes the college experience, particularly for speakers of non-standardized dialects of English. Dunstan and Jaeger (2015) found that students from rural, Southern Appalachia felt that their use of a regional dialect put them at a disadvantage in the college classroom. The students interviewed by Dunstan reported that “they had been hesitant to speak in class, felt singled out, dreaded oral presentations, tried to change the way they talked, and felt that they had to work harder to earn the respect of faculty and peers”. In addition to speaking about her work with Appalachian college students, Dunstan would accompany members of the Department of Linguistics to a meeting with the UK office of Academic and Student Affairs to discuss how to meet the needs of all UK students, regardless of linguistic background.

233 Gatton B&E

Year of Equity Series: Linguists often talk the talk but how can we also walk the walk

    Part of diversity is linguistic diversity; part of equity is

    linguistic equity; and part of inclusion is linguistic inclusion.

 Yet, despite the many university initiatives around diversity,

    equity, inclusion and access, language and linguistic diversity

    are rarely part of the constellation of identity practices that

 are seen outside of linguistics as warranting efforts toward

    greater justice. Linguists can and should play an important

    role in advocating for the centrality of language within 

    inclusivity efforts, but many of our efforts to do so are less

    effective than we might hope.


    In this talk, I’ll explore some of the potential reasons why

    this has been the case and imagine (with your insight and help) 

    some ways that linguists could have more success in our efforts

    to enhance linguistic justice. By framing linguistic inclusion 

    in the context of standardized language privilege, I’ll present

    what we know about linguistic discrimination, pinpoint the

    linguistic stakes of DEI efforts, highlight some flashpoints

    that occur in public discussions about language such as with

    pronouns and political correctness, and finally offer some

    concrete steps that we as linguists can take to effectively

    advocate for the importance of language at all levels of

    intervention linked to greater inclusion and equity.

This talk is made possible by generous support from our friends in Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures; English; Gender and Women’s studies; Sociology; Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies; African American and Africana Studies; and the College of Arts and Sciences.

233 Gatton College of B&E
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