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College of Arts and Sciences


Tracey Weldon

Title: Associate Professor
Associate Dean for Diversity, Interdisciplinary Programs and Social Sciences
Department: English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-5371
Office: Humanities, Room 215
Petigru College, Room 202
Resources: English Language and Literature
Linguistics Program


Ph.D. in Linguistics, Ohio State University, 1998
B.A. in English and French (cum laude), Furman University, 1991

Areas of Specialization

Quantitative Sociolinguistics
Language Variation
African American English, Gullah

Recently Taught Courses 

African-American English
Language and Gender
Language in the USA
The English Language

African-American English
Introduction to Sociolinguistics
Seminar in Language Variation
Survey of Linguistics
Varieties of American English

Professional Accolades

2015-2016. Pipeline for Academic Leaders (PAL) Fellow. The University of South Carolina.
2013-2014. Departmental Teaching Award. English Department. The University of South Carolina.
2011-2012. Associate Professor Development Award. The College of Arts and Sciences. The University of South Carolina.
2010-2011. Morrison Fellowship. English Department. The University of South Carolina.
2009. Research and Creative Projects Award. The Institute for African American Research. The University of South Carolina.

Current Research Projects 

I am a quantitative sociolinguist, specializing in varieties of American English, with a particular focus on African American English (AAE) and Gullah. My current book project, under contract with Cambridge University Press, examines the use of AAE by middle class speakers.

Selected Publications

    2015. Britt, Erica and Tracey Weldon. African American English and the Middle Class. Oxford Handbook of African American Language. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 800-816.
    2015. Weldon, Tracey and Simanique Moody. The place of Gullah in the African American linguistic continuum. Oxford Handbook of African American Language. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 163-180.
    2013. Vignette on “Working with scripted data.” In Data collection in sociolinguistics: Methods and applications. Christine Mallinson, Becky Childs, and Gerarad Van Herk, eds. New York: Routledge.  228-231.
    2012. “Teaching African American English to College Students: Ideological and Pedagogical Challenges and Solutions.” American Speech: Teaching American Speech 87: 2. 232-247.
    2011. Labov, William, Sharon Ash, Maya Ravindranath, Tracey Weldon, Maciej Baranowski, Naomi Nagy. Properties of the sociolinguistic monitor. Journal of sociolinguistics 15: 4. 431-463.
    2007. Gullah negation: A variable analysis. American speech. 82: 4. 341-366.
    2005. Review article on The development of African American English, by Walt Wolfram and Erik Thomas, Oxford and Malden: Blackwell, 2002; and The historical evolution of earlier African American English: An empirical comparison of early sources, by Alexander Kautzsch, Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter,     2002. Language 81.2. 478-494.
    2004. Gullah: Phonology. A handbook of varieties of English 1: 2. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 393-406.
    2003. Copula variability in Gullah. Language variation and change 15: 1. 37-72.
    2003. Revisiting the Creolist Hypothesis: Copula variability in Gullah and Southern rural AAVE. American speech 78: 2. 171-191.
    2002. Gullah Gullah islands. Language magazine. February edition. 31, 33-34.
    2000. Reflections on the Ebonics controversy. American speech (Diamond Anniversary Edition): 75: 3. 275-277.
    2000. Haller, Cynthia R., Victoria J. Gallagher, Tracey L. Weldon, Richard M. Felder. Dynamics of peer education in cooperative learning workgroups. Journal of engineering education 89: 3. 285-293.
    1994. Variability in negation in African-American Vernacular English. Language variation and change 6: 3. 359-397.

Recent Presentations

    2016. “Race, class and camouflaged divergence: The case of BEEN and read.” American Dialect Society (ADS). Washington, D.C.
    2015. “African American English in the undergraduate linguistics classroom.” Keynote speaker. Linguistics Workshop. The University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse.
    2015. “Race, class, and camouflaged divergence.” North Carolina State University Brown Bag presentation. Raleigh, N.C.
    2015. “Sounding Black: Labeling and perceptions of African American voices on southern college campuses.” Language Variety in the South (LAVIS IV).
    2014. “The Place of Gullah in the African American Language Continuum: Historical and contemporary Perspectives.” “Out of the rice fields: Vestiges of Gullah Culture in Modern Society” speaker series. Georgetown County Library.
    2014. "Talking White, talking Black: Exploring the links between language, class and racial identity." First-year reading experience speaker series. USC Upstate.
    2013. “From Babs to Biggie: Middle Class African American English and intraspeaker variation.” YOLO: 21st Century Mix-Tape panel presentation. 5th International Conference on the Linguistics of Contemporary English (ICLCE 5). University of Texas at Austin.
    2013. “Confessions of a code-switcher: An auto-ethnographic account of Middle Class African American English.” African American Studies Spring Symposium. University of Texas at San Antonio.
    2013. “New directions in African American English research: Pointing the compass toward the middle class.” Plenary for the Southeastern conference on linguistics (SECOL). The University of South Carolina, Upstate.
    2013. “Dialect diversity in the classroom: A focus on African American English.” Guest lecture. Francis Marion University, School of Education.
    2012. “Redefining the ‘Authentic’ AAE speaker: An examination of Middle Class African American English.” English Department Morrison Fellowship Lecture and Linguistics Program Colloquium Presentation, The University of South Carolina.
    2012. “Middle Class African American English – Not So Lame.” Symposium presentation for "Rethinking the Black American Speaking Subject in Contemporary Studies of Language and Culture." The University of California, Santa Barbara.
    2012. “African American English in the classroom: Building bridges between linguistics and education.” Keynote address and workshop. South Carolina Council for African American Studies Conference. Columbia, SC.
    2011. “Middle Class African American Language: A Self-Study.” New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV), Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
    2010. “Bougie banter: Representations of Middle Class AAE in film.” American Dialect Society (ads). Baltimore, Maryland.

Other Information 

    2013-2016. Research collaborator and advisory board member, “Talking Black in America: A Documentary and Outreach Program”. National Science Foundation (NSF), Informal Science Education (ISE), Connecting Researchers and Public Audiences (CRPA). Principal Investigator: Dr. Walt Wolfram (North Carolina State University).
    2014. Contributing scholar. ”Out of the Rice Fields: Vestiges of Gullah Culture in Modern Society”. The SC Humanities Council. Principal Investigator: Dr. Valinda Littlefield (The University of South Carolina).
    2011-2013. Principal Investigator, “Middle class African American English.” Provost Internal Humanities Grant (The University of South Carolina).
    2004-2006. Research collaborator, “The evaluative component in linguistic change and variation.” National Science Foundation (NSF). Principal Investigator: Dr. William Labov (The University of Pennsylvania).

    2014-2016. Chair, Black Faculty Caucus. The University of South Carolina
    2012-2015. Graduate Council. The University of South Carolina
    2013-present. Diversity Committee. The University of South Carolina.
    2011-present. Steering Committee. Women’s Faculty Organization. The University of South Carolina.
    2004-2005. Chair, Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics (CEDL), Linguistic Society of America.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.