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Faculty Expertise in Linguistics

Linguistics is the study of human languages. It is concerned with language structure (for instance, the rules for combining sounds into words and words into phrases and sentences), the processes by which children and adults learn language, how languages change over time and through contact with other languages, what the functions of language are, how and why people evaluate various dialects positively or negatively, and how particular uses of language can influence the way that we perceive the world.

The strengths of the linguistics faculty in Ohio State's English department lie in the area of sociolinguistics — the study of how language and social life influence each other. As sociolinguists, we are interested in questions like why people might consider some kinds of English to be ‘proper’ and others to be ‘broken’; how speakers structure and organize stories; what ‘political correctness’ has to do with language; how bilingual speakers might utilize multiple languages in the same conversation; and the origins and effects of people’s associations of linguistic forms with gender, class, race, sexuality, attitudes or personality characteristics.


  • Galey Modan: Discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, ethnography, oral narrative, urban studies
  • Lauren Squires: Digital media studies, language and linguistics, literacy studies, popular culture, sociolinguistics of orthography


  • English 3271: Introduction to English Linguistics
  • English 4570: History of English
  • English 4571: Special Topics in English Linguistics
  • English 4572: English Grammar and Usage
  • English 7872: Seminar in English Linguistics    


The Buckeye Language Network is an interdisciplinary group composed of Ohio State faculty, scholars and students from across the university. The BLN steering committee is excited about the launch of our new website and the opportunity to highlight the impressive work being done by our colleagues.

OhioSpeaks is an integrated research and teaching project for and about undergraduates at The Ohio State University. They create tools which teach students about language, identity and the research process while also gathering data to answer real research questions. The big research question is how coming to Ohio State changes student’s speech, with a focus on two influences: changing identity and exposure to other language varieties.

The Center for Folklore Studies at The Ohio State University supports the learning, teaching, research and outreach of folklorists and students of folklore. With participation from across the university, the center promotes interdisciplinary dialogue about the important role of vernacular knowledge and practice in all areas of human activity, from confronting climate change to battling food insecurity, from understanding aging to transforming urban neighborhoods.