Suzanne Evans Wagner

Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, Michigan State University

wagnersu AT, B-401 Wells Hall, 517 355-9739

  Suzanne Evans Wagner

My research is in the field of sociolinguistics. This is the study of the social meaning attached to linguistic variation, with the goal of understanding what motivates linguistic change. I'm especially interested in the extent to which individuals do or do not participate in ongoing community linguistic change across the lifespan, and how we can differentiate this from age grading. I look in particular at the period between late adolescence and early adulthood, and the ways in which an individual's life trajectory, social class and ethnicity influence participation in change. Some of this work was recently featured in the media.

In pursuit of answers to these questions, I examine variation and change at the community level as well as the individual level, and at multiple levels of the grammar. I'm working with Gillian Sankoff and Sali Tagliamonte on morphosyntactic change in French and English. With Daniel Hasty, Kali Bybel and Ashley Hesson and with other students, I've been working on sociolinguistic variables at the intersection of syntactic variation and discourse-pragmatic variation. My dissertation research in Philadelphia was on phonetic/phonological variation, and I've returned to this line of work recently. I'll also be working with William Labov on a comparative study of lifespan change in individual phonology in Philadelphia and Michigan over the next couple of years. The common thread in all of this is the lifespan and its linguistic (in)stability.

You can find me in the MSU Sociolinguistics Lab, which is a growing community of amazing students. You can read a recent MSU profile about how I try to include students in my research. I also operate the mailing list of the MSU Friends of Sociolinguistics: an informal cross-departmental group of people interested in language variation and change.



Spring 2013

IAH 231c Roles of Language in Society Mon and Wed, 10:20-11:40, 103 Erickson

LIN 471 Sociolinguistics Mon and Wed, 12:40-2:00, C-104 Wonders

Office hours: Mon 2:30-3:30, Fri 11:00-12:00



Fall 2014

LIN 871 Advanced Sociolinguistics Tue, 1:50-4:40, A236 Wells

LIN 471 Sociolinguistics, Tue and Thur, 10:20-11:40, room TBA

Office hours: TBA