School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Staff Profile

Dr Daniel Duncan

Lecturer in Sociolinguistics


I'm a sociolinguist who studies language and place, among other topics in linguistics.



PhD Linguistics, 2018, New York University

MA Linguistics, 2015, New York University

BA Linguistics and East European Peace Studies, 2013, Swarthmore College 



I'm a sociolinguist who studies how language varies and changes. There are three aspects of this that I focus on:

Sociolinguistics of Place: How language varies and interacts with place. This includes regional dialectology, although I'm particularly interested in language in metropolitan areas and how that interacts with the structure and history of those areas. Places can change over time, and I'm also interested in what happens with language when a group changes their perception of the place they live in. I tend to do sociophonetic work, although I'm happy to look at morphosyntactic variables as well.

Locus of variation in grammar: One important question about language variation is at what level of the grammar a speaker selects a particular variant. While this applies to all variables, it's especially critical to our understanding of syntactic variation. I've done some formal description of syntactic variables like the ish-construction in English, and have work in progress testing predictions that the Competing Grammars framework makes about what kinds of variation are licit.

Phonological outcomes of sound change: Sounds, like English vowels, change all the time--so our phonological systems might to change accordingly. I'm interested in exploring what these phonological changes would be like. I've previously approached this with respect to English phonotactics and features, and am also interested in contrast preservation/loss.

In my most recent work, I examine how suburbanization and language interact in the US, based on fieldwork I conducted in St. Louis, MO. Suburbs have a complex relationship with the city they share a metropolitan area with, and I investigate what effect this has on the local speech.


2017: NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, BCS-1651102 DDRI

‘Language variation and change in the geographies of suburbs’, $13,689.00

2018: First Prize, Linguistic Society of America Student Abstract Award

2017: American Name Society Emerging Scholar Award



My office hours for the Fall 2020 semester are Tuesdays, 10:30-12:00, and Thursdays, 11:00-12:30. These will take place on Zoom.

The Tuesday Zoom meeting has this recurring link:

The Thursday Zoom meeting has this recurring link:

Each day has its own password, please email me for it.

Friday is my research day.


SEL2091: Sociolinguistics and the Sociology of Language (Module Leader)


SEL8163: The Sociolinguistics of Language and Society