College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Visiting Scholar to Discuss Language and Life

A noted linguistics scholar will discuss how speech researchers may connect their findings to local communities this evening (Sept. 20) at the University of Mississippi.

Jeffrey Reaser, associate professor of English at North Carolina State University, lectures at 6 p.m. in Bondurant Hall auditorium. The event is open to the public.

Reaser’s talk, “Operationalizing Linguistic Gratuity: Community Engagement of the North Carolina Language and Life Project,” combines research and service with language diversity and education. Linguistic gratuity is the concept that when investigators have obtained data from members of a speech community, they should actively pursue ways to return favors.

“I know that Dr. Reaser will be an engaging speaker, and we very much look forward to his interesting presentation,” said Donald Dyer, UM chair and professor of modern languages. “The department encourages all who have an interest in how language education can serve the public to attend.”

Reaser served as the lead developer for the “Do You Speak American?” secondary school and college-level curriculum television programs that aired on PBS. He co-authored “Voices of North Carolina: Language and Life from the Atlantic to the Appalachians,” the nation’s first state-approved dialect awareness curriculum. In 2011, in conjunction with members of the North Carolina Language and Life Project and the Ocracoke Preservation Society, he compiled an oral history project entitled “Ocracoke Still Speaks: Reflections Past and Present.”

Reaser earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in secondary English education and English, respectively, from NCSU. He holds a Ph.D. in English-Linguistics from Duke University.

His primary appointment is in the secondary teacher education program with a secondary appointment in linguistics. Reaser’s research has focused on the development, testing and distribution of materials designed to allow teachers to teach about language variation in public schools and in professional development settings.

He will serve as co-chair (2013-2015) of the Language in the School Curriculum Committee of the Linguistics Society of America.